REPORT: Young Gay And Bisexual African American Men At Greatest Risk for HIV Infection

According to a new report by the Center for Disease Control, young African American men, especially those that identify as gay or bisexual, are at the greatest risk for HIV infection. However, African American youth are more likely to get tested for HIV than any other ethnic or racial group.

The CDC’s Vital Signs report found:

About 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year, and 1 in 4 is 13 to 24 years old. Youth make up 7% of the more than 1 million people in the US living with HIV. About 12,000 youth were infected with HIV in 2010. The greatest number of infections occurred among gay and bisexual youth. Nearly half of all new infections among youth occur in African American males.

Other findings of the report include:

  • About 1 in 4 (26%) of all new HIV infections is among youth ages 13 to 24 years. About 4 in 5 of these infections occur in males.
  • Nearly 60% of new HIV infections in youth occur in African Americans, about 20% in Hispanics/Latinos, and about 20% in whites.
  • Over half (54%) of new infections among young gay and bisexual males are in African Americans.
  • About 60% of youth with HIV do not know they are infected and so don’t receive treatment, putting them at risk for sickness and early death. These youth can also unknowingly pass HIV to others.
  • Young men are far more likely than young women to have HIV and are also less likely to get tested.
  • African American youth are more likely to get tested for HIV than youth of other races or ethnicities.
  • Youth who report being at risk for HIV are also more likely to get tested, but still many youth at risk have never been tested.
  • Less than half (44%) of gay and bisexual males in high school used condoms the last time they had sex.

“Given everything we know about HIV and how to prevent it after more than 30 years of fighting the disease, it is just unacceptable that young people are becoming infected at such high rates,” said CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden, M.D. “Reducing HIV among young people is a top priority for the CDC. This is about the health of a new generation and protecting them from an entirely preventable disease.”

That HIV is so preventable makes these infection rates particularly troubling. Luckily the CDC provides a  number of resources; you can contact 1-800-CDC-INFO or text your zip code to Knowit (566948) or go to for more information and to find HIV testing locations. You can also click here to learn more about the CDC and HIV.

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  • Mjl-428

    I’ll give you three guesses as to why we still have this problem, and they’re pretty damn obvious by now

  • Brian

    Yet more homophobic identity politics from the CDC. Memo to the CDC: you catch Hiv as a result of your behavior, not your identity. Stop tarring the gay and bisexual male identity with the illness brush.

  • FStratford

    Identity politics? Sheesh. The variance is outside the margin of error. Possible reasons?

    The culture of machismo and “down low” attitude of black gay closeted men is the reason. Add the fact that African Americans.

    Lower education rate of blacks = less ability to self protect

    Lower economic ability of blacks = lower access to preventive health care

  • Freddie27

    @Brian: The CDC are completely correct and you are ignorant and wrong. Fact: gay men are more at-risk for contracting HIV than those of any other sexual orientation. Fact: African Americans are the most at-risk ethnicity. I am gay and accept these. I don’t shove my head in the sand and pretend that highlighting the disproportionate impact of HIV is due to the CDC being homophobic. These are worrying results and we need to know where to direct our resources.

    This is a wake up call for comprehensive sex education in all public schools, but especially in minority and inner city urban areas. Condoms need to be much more widely available than they are now. My university provides them free and we need to make this true in High schools. Guidance counselors should be providing them free, in bowls in their offices. A number of NYC schools are now offering free morning-after pills to combat teen pregnancy. Kids are having sex with or without their schools providing contraception, so let’s make tools that combat infection more widely available. Also, those terrifying ads from the 80’s about AIDS need to come back.

  • classyinc

    This is such a racist website. Queerty, all you do is bash the black community, including the gay black community. How about putting something positive up about the black community? How about putting up a diverse group of models and advertisements, instead of just white men? Your ignorance will continue to be recognized and called out. The fact is, the media lovesss to talk about how black people have this, black people have that, and so on. But we know most of this is bull CRAP.

    Not to mention Queerty contradicts itself. Here is an article Queerty put out saying that black men in relationships are more likely to use condoms, and white men DO NOT.

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