In 2016, black women accounted for 60% of new HIV infections among all women in the United States despite comprising just 13% of the U.S. female population, indicating persisting disparities, researchers said. And new findings showed that an estimated 93% of new infections among black women that year could have been prevented if HIV incidence rates were the same for black and white women.
Between 2010 and 2016, new cases of HIV infection decreased 21% among black women, making it the largest reduction among any group of adolescent females or women in the U.S., according to Erin L.P. Bradley, PhD, and colleagues from the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, STD and TB Prevention. The incidence among black women and adolescent females decreased overall.
“The declines in incidence of HIV infection among black women and adolescent females signal some progress toward reducing racial disparities among women,” Bradley and colleagues wrote in MMWR. “However, notable black-white disparities among women persist.”
Using the population attributable proportion (PAP) disparity measure, the researchers calculated what the combined proportional decrease in HIV infections among black and white women would be if black women had the same HIV incidence rate as white women. Their analysis used data from an HIV Supplemental Surveillance Report that included HIV incidence and prevalence estimates for women and adolescent females aged 13 years or older.
According to Bradley and colleagues, from 2010 to 2016, new HIV infections among black women and adolescent females decreased from 32.5 per 100,000 persons to 24.4, whereas rates ranged from 1.4 to 1.7 among white women and adolescent females.
Over the same period, the PAP disparity measure decreased from 0.75 to 0.70, suggesting that HIV infections among black and white women would have been 75% lower in 2010 and 70% lower in 2016 if both groups experienced the incidence rate of white women, Bradley and colleagues reported.
Of the 4,200 new HIV cases among black women in 2016, an estimated 3,900 would not have occurred if incidence rates were the same, they said.
Earlier this year, President Donald J. Trump announced a 10-year plan to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S. by 2030, with prevention strategies as a centerpiece.
“Findings from the PAP disparity measure analyses enhance the measurement of HIV disparities among women and adolescent females by quantifying the number of incident HIV infections that might have been prevented in the absence of racial disparities,” Bradley and colleagues wrote. “This information lends support for strengthening HIV prevention and care efforts for heterosexual black females and males to continue progress toward closing the gap in racial disparities in HIV infection among women.”
By Marley Ghizzone