HIV and African American People: Prevention Challenges

Racism, discrimination, HIV stigma, and homophobia have a negative impact on the overall health and well-being of African American people. Additionally, poverty and the associated socioeconomic factors—including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education—directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV. Addressing these social and structural barriers and encouraging safe and supportive communities can help improve health outcomes for African American people.

Other factors that can increase African American people’s chances of getting or transmitting HIV include:

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Low percentages of viral suppression. African American people have lower percentages of viral suppression compared to all people with HIV. Getting and keeping an undetectable viral load (or staying virally suppressed) can prevent transmission to others.

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Mistrust in the health care system. African American people experience high levels of mistrust of the health care system. Lower levels of trust can reduce the likelihood of engaging in HIV treatment and care.

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Other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). African American people are disproportionately affected by chlamydia, gonorrhea, and syphilis. Having another STD can increase a person’s chance of getting or transmitting HIV.

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