Minority men who have sex with other men (MSM), especially Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black men, account for most new HIV diagnoses but poor care uptake.
Minority men who have sex with other men (MSM), especially Hispanic/Latino and African American/Black men, account for most new HIV diagnoses, despite total diagnoses actually decreasing 2.3% (95% CI, 1.9%-2.8%) annually, according to the CDC’s most recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
In 2015 alone, the HIV diagnosis rate was 9.3 times higher in Black MSM compared with White MSM. This group also accounted for more diagnoses compared with the other racial/ethnic MSM groups evaluated.
Overall, by the end of the study period, just over two-thirds (68.3%) were able to achieve viral suppression (viral load < 200 copies/mL) within 6 months and only 80.8% were linked to care in the month following their diagnosis. Both of these results came in “below target during 2018.”
Using data reported as of December 2019 to the National HIV Surveillance System for MSM who received their diagnoses from 2014 to 2018, this examination of race/ethnicity and age data from 2014 through 2018 shows that new HIV diagnoses increased each year by 2.2% (95% CI, 1.0%-3.4%) among Black MSM and 2.0% (95% CI, 0.6%-3.3%) among Hispanic MSM aged 25 to 34 years. For younger MSM (aged 13-19 years), no significant change for either group was seen.
All MSM lived in 1 of 33 jurisdictions reporting complete lab data on CD4 counts and viral load for the study period.
“These findings, albeit promising, warrant intensified preventions efforts for Black, Hispanic, and younger MSM,” the report noted.
Although additional analyses reveal disparities in the results among the racial groups (Black, Hispanic, White, other) and age ranges (13-19, 20-24, 25-34, 35-44, 45-54, > 55 years) evaluated, there were similarities as well:
The report stresses the need to intensify prevention efforts Black and Hispanic/Latino MSM, especially those in the youngest age range evaluated (13-19 years), as well as increasing the overall linkage to care and viral suppression.
“CDC encourages use of interventions that address social determinants of health that underlie the high risk for HIV infection among MSM of all races/ethnicities and ages,” the authors concluded. “Such interventions might help prevent HIV infection and eliminate racial/ethnic disparities in HIV infection among MSM.”
Limitations to their findings are 2-fold:
Jeffries WL 4th, Dailey AF, Jin C, Carter JW Jr, Scales L. Trends in diagnosis of HIV infection, linkage to medical care, and viral suppression among men who have sex with men, by race/ethnicity and age — 33 jurisdictions, United States, 2014–2018. MMWR Morb Mortal Wekly Rep. 2020;69(38):1337-1342. doi:10.15585/mmwr.mm6938a1