- The Washington Times - Friday, November 7, 2014

The rate of new HIV cases has fallen about 6 percent over the last five years, but remains stubbornly high in some demographic groups, including gay and bisexual males, a federal report says.

Some 880,440 persons were living with HIV as of the end of 2011, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said this week in its new HIV Surveillance Report: 2012.

According to its updated, national reporting system, new HIV cases fell to 15.3 per 100,000 population in 2012, down from 16.2 new cases per 100,000 in 2008, the CDC said this week.

This meant the estimated number of new HIV infections dropped from 49,303 in 2008 to 47,989 in 2012.

However, certain demographic groups remained overrepresented in the HIV caseload: Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 64 percent of the new HIV cases — a disproportionate infection rate since they are estimated to be only 2 percent of the population.

Young adults, aged 20-24, had the highest diagnosis rate (36.3 per 100,000) and accounted for the largest percentage (17 percent) of new HIV cases.

Among racial groups, blacks accounted for 47 percent of new HIV cases — which, again, is a high burden, since the nation’s black population is about 13 percent.

The new HIV surveillance report also found that while new infections due to MSM sexual contact rose in the last five years, the number of diagnoses attributed to heterosexual sex and injection-drug use declined.

Dr. Eugene McCray, director of the CDC’s division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, urged all people with HIV to get “linked” to medical care and stay in care.

Some 494,602 people were living with Stage 3 infections, or AIDS, at the end of 2011, the CDC said.

About 38 percent of those living with AIDS are in their 40s, and 75 percent are male.

The estimated number of annual deaths from AIDS has declined, from 20,086 in 2008 to 17,339 in 2012, the agency said.

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