CDC: Blacks with HIV less likely to receive consistent medical care

Blacks with HIV — the virus that causes AIDS — are less likely than whites and Hispanics to receive consistent medical care, according to a new report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Nationwide, 38 percent of blacks got consistent care for HIV from 2011 to 2013, compared with about half for whites and Hispanics, according to the new findings, which are based on National HIV Surveillance System records and were published Thursday in the CDC’s “Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.”

People living with HIV who receive continuing treatment remain healthier than those who do not, according to the CDC, and they also dramatically reduce their risk of transmitting the virus to others.

The new findings are significant as blacks are disproportionately affected by the virus in Georgia. For example, in 2013, blacks accounted for 66 percent of people living with HIV in the state, though they comprised only 31 percent of Georgia's population. In contrast, blacks represent 12 percent of the population nationwide but accounted for almost 50 percent of HIV diagnoses in 2014.

“Consistent care matters. It enables people with HIV to live longer, healthier lives, and it prevents new infections,” Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said in a prepared statement. “And closing this gap in care will be essential if we are to see the narrowing racial divide in HIV diagnoses close completely.”

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