Race, Education Linked to Differences in HIV Mortality Rates
The Archives of Internal Medicine recently published an article on what is thought to be the first analysis of its kind -- researchers assessed HIV mortality rates among different racial and ethnic groups, including their level of education and gender. The authors analyzed records of more than 91,000 HIV-related deaths among adults between the years of 1993 and 1997. The study concluded that even though the extensive usage of multidrug treatments has greatly reduced HIV-related deaths, mortality rates remain disproportionately high for African Americans, particularly those with limited education, and HIV death rates were significantly elevated among blacks, compared to whites, within every category.
Findings covered the following: For males with the highest education levels, mortality rates per 100,000 population decreased from 118 to 15 for blacks and from 26 to 2 for whites. The mortality rate for black women with low education remained steady at 27 per 100,000. The authors of the study suggested that black men and low-income black and Latino women faced greater risks due to lack of knowledge about their own testing status, HIV prevention, social stigma, and marginalization, and a lack of accessibility to healthcare. The use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART) for HIV has caused HIV mortality rates to drop significantly for all groups since 1996, except black women with 12 or fewer years of education.
"These findings suggest the need for focused interventions and resources to facilitate the identification of high-risk individuals, as well as entry and retention into care for these most vulnerable groups affected by the HIV epidemic in the United States," the authors wrote.
[Editor's Note: The Influence of Sex, Race/Ethnicity, and Educational Attainment on Human Immunodeficiency Virus Death Rates Among Adults, 1993-2007, Edgar P. Simard, PhD, MPH; Mesfin Fransua, MD; Deepa Naishadham, MA, MS; Ahmedin Jemal, DVM, PhD. Arch Intern Med. 2012;():1-8. doi:10.1001/archinternmed.2012.4508. Published online October 2012].