Hispanic Americans are diagnosed with HIV infection nearly three times as often as whites, but rates and causes differ by region, a new study finds. HIV is the virus that causes AIDS.
For the study, researchers analyzed 2010 data from 46 states and Puerto Rico and found that the rate of HIV diagnoses among Hispanics in the Northeast (55 per 100,000 people) was more than twice that of any other region in the United States.
The investigators also found that the largest percentage of HIV diagnoses among Hispanics occurred in the South (35.4 percent).
Male-to-male sex was the primary method of HIV transmission among Hispanics overall, but those living in the Northeast were more likely to have been infected through injection drug use than Hispanics with HIV in other regions, the study authors noted in a news release from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Hispanics in the Northeast were also more likely to be of Puerto Rican descent, while those in other regions of the country were more likely to be of Mexican or Central American descent, according to the report published in the Oct. 12 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
When compared with Hispanics in the 46 states included in the study, those in Puerto Rico diagnosed with HIV were more likely to have contracted the virus through injection drug use or sexual contact with a member of the opposite sex.
These regional differences require that HIV testing, prevention and treatment efforts be tailored to the different needs of these regions, concluded researcher Qian An of the division of HIV/AIDS prevention at the CDC National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention, and colleagues.
SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 11, 2012