The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) have just released some new statistics regarding HIV infections in the country. They announced that the infection rate has been stable, according to a new government analysis. Now remember the statistics are always a couple years behind but we see recent numbers as well.
There were about 47,500 new infections in 2008 and 47,500 in 2010, according to the CDC’s HIV Supplemental Surveillance Report. HIV is the infection that can lead to (AIDS) acquired immune deficiency syndrome. We were hoping for better numbers but that just shows the work in this country with education and prevention is far from over. A glimmer of hope in this report showed a decline in new infections among African-American women. The number dropped from 7,700 in 2008 to 6,100 in 2010. “We are moving in the right direction with the epidemic,” says Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. “We have accomplished a lot, but we have more to do.”
MSM (Men who have sex with men) continue to be the most affected. That group’s new infections increased from 26,700 in 2008 to 29,800 in 2010. Those men make up about 4% of the U.S. population but accounted for 63% of all new infections. So there’s a target population that our agency has been trying to outreach to even though our client base is mainly heterosexual or drug injection infections.
With this information, this will help the CDC target the correct populations that need the most prevention efforts. Then AIDS Service Organizations like us (ARE) can apply for grants to encourage community engagement and education. Fenton says. “We will not end this epidemic until we effectively address the epidemic among young gay and bisexual men.”
But we must not forget the young population ages 14-24 years of age who’s infection rates have climbed. Their knowledge of HIV/AIDS is very limited and they truly don’t worry about protection. In general conversations with students, we’re shocked with how little they’re informed. Some think by just taking a pill, everything will be fine. We have so much work to do with so little grant funds.