If current trends persist about half of gay and bisexual men will contract HIV in their lifetime according to researchers at the Center for Disease Control.
“As alarming as these lifetime risk estimates are, they are not a foregone conclusion. They are a call to action,” said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention. “The prevention and care strategies we have at our disposal today provide a promising outlook for future reductions of HIV infections and disparities in the U.S., but hundreds of thousands of people will be diagnosed in their lifetime if we don’t scale up efforts now.”
Overall risks from contracting the virus calculated from death rates between, 2004-2005 vs 2009-2013 have decreased from 1 in 99 to 1 in 78 but these numbers can be misleading. Gay and bisexual men continue to be most affected by the HIV epidemic in the U.S. African Americans at large are by far the most affected racial or ethnic group with a lifetime HIV risk of 1 in 20 for men compared to 1 in 132 for whites. 1 in 48 black women compared to 1 in 880 for white woman will be infected with the disease. People living in the southern United States have a higher likelihood of contracting the disease then their counterparts in the North. 37% of the US population lives in the south but has 54% of all new cases. The south also has the largest population of those living with the disease and don’t know it. For more details check out this link 2016 CROI resources page.
The CDC is working feverishly to make people aware of the risks and on prevention strategies including distributing drugs such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP, a daily anti-HIV pill for high-risk uninfected people). They are also funding community-based organizations in the most affected areas to help slow down the epidemic.