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HIV Prevention in the United States:

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Disparities in HIV Rates Are Fueled by Social and Economic Inequities


A wide range of complex social and economic factors drive the HIV epidemic and place African Americans and Latinos at greater risk for this disease. Many of the contextual factors that increase risk for other diseases (such as heart disease and diabetes) also fuel the spread of HIV within these communities:

  • Poor access to health care: Having health insurance can enable a person to more easily access HIV care and treatment – but nearly 20 percent of African Americans and 30 percent of Latinos lack consistent health insurance, compared with 11 percent of whites.13
  • Low socioeconomic status: CDC research shows that those who cannot afford the basics in life may end up in circumstances that increase their HIV risk.14 Census data indicate that in the United States poverty is not evenly distributed – nearly a quarter of African American and Latino families live in poverty (compared to 10 percent of white families).15
  • High community rates of HIV: Because the burden of HIV is greater in some communities, African Americans and Latinos face an increased risk of being exposed to HIV infection with each sexual encounter. Therefore, even with similar levels of individual risk behaviors, people in these communities face a higher risk of infection than those in other communities.

While each individual has a personal responsibility to protect his or her own health, as a nation we have a shared responsibility to tackle the root causes of these disparities. (See “Today’s HIV Epidemic” fact sheet for more information.)




 
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