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.