During a multi-year HIV study by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), young Black men who have sex with men (MSM) were the only group to show a significant increase in new HIV infections.

According to the study, young MSM (18-29 year olds) were all affected, but Blacks were severely vulnerable. In fact, the infection rate among Blacks increased by 48 percent—from 4,400 infections in 2006 to 6,500 infections in 2009.

“More than 30 years into the HIV epidemic, about 50,000 people in this country still become infected each year,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. “Not only do men who have sex with men continue to account for most new infections, young gay and bisexual men are the only group in which infections are increasing, and this increase is particularly concerning among young African American MSM.”

There were no definite reasons to explain the trend, but there were a number of factors that may have contributed to the spike, according to the study. Limited access to health care, “stigma of HIV and homosexuality” and higher rates of sexually transmitted diseases among young Black men, which could help “facilitate HIV transmission,” could have contributed to the increase.

Jonathan Mermin, the director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said the organization is “deeply concerned” about the alarming rate of young, Black gay and bisexual men.

“We cannot allow the health of a new generation of gay men to be lost to a preventable disease,” Mermin said. “It’s time to renew the focus on HIV among gay men and confront the homophobia and stigma that all too often accompany this disease.”

Even though Blacks represent 14 percent of the total population in the U.S., the racial group accounted for 44 percent of all new HIV infections in 2009, the report stated.

From a broader perspective, between 2006 and 2009, HIV infections were “relatively stable,” the report revealed. In the U.S., there were 48,000 new infections in 2006, 56,000 in 2007, 47,800 in 2008 and 48,100 in 2009.

To promote HIV awareness, on Aug. 13 at 7 a.m., radio personality and former BET host Big Tigger will kickoff “Big Tigger HIV/AIDS Ride for Life” event where more then 2,000 bikers will ride from Prince George’s Stadium in Bowie, Md. to the United Medical Center in Washington, D.C.