More than half of the new HIV cases diagnosed among young adults in 2010 were found in African-American males, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

In all, 25 percent, or 12,200 of the 47,000 new HIV cases reported in 2010 were among youths ages 13 to 24, according to the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, released Nov. 27.

Though that number is down from 39 percent a year earlier, the disease is still
disproportionately ripping through the African-American community. Of the 12,200 new
diagnoses in 2010 among teens and young adults, approximately 7,000, or 57 percent,
were African-American males.

“A disproportionate number of new HIV infections occurs among youths, especially
Blacks/African Americans, Hispanics/Latinos, and men who have sex with men,” the
report stated.

The CDC also found that only a small percentage of youths that age are being tested for HIV infection. “The percentage of youths tested for HIV overall was 12.9 percent among high school students and 34.5 percent among those aged 18 to 24 years,” the report found.

While males, specifically men with male partners, make up a majority of the new cases, testing for the disease is higher among females. African Americans are also tested more than their Caucasian and Hispanic counterparts in the same age group.

Over-the-counter oral HIV home-testing kits made by OraSure Technologies became
available in 30,000 stores across the country in October.

“That so many young people have become infected with HIV each year is a preventable tragedy,” CDC Director Thomas R. Frieden said in a statement. “All young people can protect their health, avoid contracting and transmitting the virus, and learn their HIV status.”

According to the CDC, sex with older partners, having more than four sexual partners,
and alcohol or drug use before sexual intercourse are all factors for the disease’s spread among youth.

Alexis Taylor

AFRO Staff Writer