NEW YORK, May 25 (Xinhua) -- The latest accounting of HIV incidence in the United States is a mixed bag -- overall estimated new infections dropped 12 percent in 2021 compared to 2017, but the American South, which has had a longtime HIV problem compared with other areas across the country, was the only region to show a "statistically significant decline," according to data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"While young gay and bisexual men drove the decline among 13- to 24-year-olds, the drop was uneven across race and gender, reflecting familiar disparities among Black and Latino boys and men," said STAT News in its report of the data, which was released on Tuesday.
Annual HIV infections dropped from 9,300 in 2017 to 6,100 in 2021 among 13- to 24-year-old boys and men. For white males in this age group, the decline from 2017 estimates was 45 percent, compared with 36 percent for Hispanic or Latino and 27 percent for Black males.
Experts who spoke with STAT called the CDC findings "disappointing," though not surprising. They ticked off persistent disparities in the new data: Black and Latino men who have sex with men tend to take pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) less than their peers and are less likely to be on treatment if they are HIV positive, according to the report.
"While Black and Latino people account for the highest rates of new infection and could most benefit from PrEP if prescribed, they were prescribed it at much lower rates than white people in 2021," it added.