ATLANTA — Last month the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released a report detailing new estimated figures for new HIV infections per year. Jumping from 40,000 new infections each year to more than 56,000, the CDC also said the burden for the increase was “greatest among gay and bisexual men of all races.” The CDC then noted that a full 53 percent of all new infections occurred in gay and bisexual men and men who have sex with men (MSM).

According to a secondary report released by the CDC on Sept. 11, new estimates place gay and bisexual African-American males age 13-29 at the highest risk of contracting the virus that causes AIDS.

“Among MSM overall, there were more new HIV infections in young black MSM (aged 13-29) than any other age/racial group of MSM,” read a CDC fact sheet. “The number of new infections among young, black gay and bisexual men was roughly twice that of whites and of Hispanics/Latinos (5,220 infections in blacks vs. 3,330 among whites and 2,300 among Hispanics/Latinos).”

The statistics are from 2006, the latest year for which figures are available.

For whites, men in their 30s and 40s were at the highest risk. White men accounted for 46 percent of all new HIV infections among MSM populations.

The CDC cautioned that new HIV infections rates continue to have a “severe impact of HIV among gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities, African Americans, and Hispanics/
Latinos” but that “within these groups, the impact is most severe among young black gay and bisexual men, white gay and bisexual men in their 30s and 40s, and black women.”

Atlanta’s Southern Voice reported that of the 18 CDC intervention programs for HIV/AIDS, only two are directly targeted toward black gay men.

Kevin Fenton, the CDC HIV/AIDS division director, said more than 80 percent of black gay and bisexual men “have never come in contact with a CDC-approved HIV-prevention intervention.”

In North Carolina, new HIV infection rate 40 percent higher than the U.S. rate. In 2006, the state had a rate of 32.2 cases per 100,000 people as compared to a national rate of 22.6 new infections per 100,000 people. About 72 percent of all new HIV infections in the Tar Heel State were men. Fifty-seven percent of those were among MSM.

South Carolina also saw an increase in its HIV infection rate, especially among its African-American community. According to The State (Columbia, S.C.), new HIV infection rates among black communities accounted for more than triple that of all other races combined.

Several AIDS service organizations in the Carolinas have begun efforts to reach out to African-American communities. In Raleigh, the Alliance of AIDS Services-Carolinas will join other Triangle community members on Sept. 22 for a “Faith Forum addressing the HIV/AIDS Epidemic in The (sic) Triangle’s African American Communities.” Various faith leaders as well as state Rep. Ty Harrell (D-Wake) are participants.

In Charlotte, Metrolina AIDS Project has successfully run D-UP!, a program targeting young MSM communities of color. Q-Notes profiled the program in the Aug. 23 issue’s featured article, “Fighting AIDS with sex.”

Columbia’s Palmetto AIDS Life Support Services runs EMPACT, or Empowering Men Through Prevention, Action, Community, Collaboration and Training. The program specifically works with African-American age 25 and up.