CDC sees hopeful but uneven progress in HIV prevention

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released data showing that new HIV infections fell 8% from 2015 to 2019.

However, though there were declines in all races, the CDC said that young gay and bisexual Black and Latino men are still disproportionately affected.

The CDC said the data suggests recent progress is likely due to increased uptake of key prevention and treatment strategies. In 2019, nearly 23% of people eligible for pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) were prescribed it. In 2015, that percentage was roughly 3%. In 2019, 66% of people with diagnosed HIV were virally suppressed and 81% of people with diagnosed HIV were rapidly linked to care within one month of diagnosis in 45 U.S. jurisdictions. While not directly comparable due to a differing number of jurisdictions with complete data (38 in 2015 vs. 45 in 2019), a previous CDC report showed that 60% of people were virally suppressed and 75% were rapidly linked to care in 2015.

Even with the progress, Black and Latino men are still severely affected. Infection rates with Black men are still more than 8 times as high as whites, and Hispanics/Latinos face rates that are almost 4 times as high. In each case, barriers to accessing prevention and care are the driving factors.

While 23% of people eligible for PrEP were prescribed it in 2019, coverage is not equal. Only 8% of Black people and 14% of Latinos who were eligible for PrEP were prescribed it, compared to 63% of whites.

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