A new report released from the Centers for Disease Control shows that from 2010 to 2016 new HIV infections have leveled off and now remain stable at about 39,000 infections a year.
“After about five years of substantial declines, the number of new infections began to level off in 2013,”.
But while some populations are seeing decreases some gay and bisexual populations are facing increases in infections. There’s been an alarming 65 percent increase among gay/bisexual black and Latino males ages 25 to 34.
“Here in South Florida’s Miami-Dade and Broward counties, we rank number one and number two in new HIV infections, and our gay / bisexual communities most impacted,” said Stephen Fallon, the executive director of Latinos Salud. “So we’ve never had the luxury of thinking the epidemic was declining. Gay Latinos and youth areat an alarming risk here, not only of acquiring HIV, but of faring poorly if living with HIV.”
The press release goes on to note “that HIV infections are steady for now because effective HIV prevention and treatment are not adequately reaching those who could most benefit from them. These gaps remain particularly troublesome in rural areas and the South, and among disproportionately affected populations like African Americans and Latinos.”
For other populations though the report showed better results including a 17 percent decrease among heterosexuals and a 15 percent decrease among heterosexual African American women. Those years also showed a 30 percent decrease among people who inject drugs, but those numbers now appear to have stabilized.
A spokesperson for AIDS Healthcare Foundation had a different take on the report.
“I found this information to be quite shocking and questionable,” said Imara Canady, national director of Communications & Community Engagement for AHF. “We are continuing to see a steady increase of those coming into our healthcare and wellness centers particularly in the southern region where theepidemic has hit the hardest.”
According to the report the South is seeing the highest percentage of new infections at 19.3 percent and notes that the number has stabilized. The Northeast is the only region that saw a decrease.
Canady went to implore the CDC to focus more on condoms as a way to prevent HIV.
“It’s critical that we have safe sex messaging that is inclusive of condom usage,” he said. He also added that the report doesn’t address “the thousands of individuals who are positive and are not aware of their status."
“We need increases in funding. Not to just shift dollars around,” he said.
That might just happen.
The requesting a $300 million increase in funds to combat HIV/AIDS. However that budget also seeks to roll back Medicare and Medicaid — programs on which many people with HIV/AIDS rely.is