Interventions that are demographically customized within each locality in which they are implemented will be critical to the success of efforts to end the HIV epidemic in the U.S., researchers reported in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The current U.S. “Plan to End the HIV Epidemic” (EHE) identifies 50 high-priority jurisdictions. In 2017, programs funded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in these locations conducted almost 2 million HIV tests and diagnosed 8,154 people who had not previously known their serostatus, study authors found.
Of these diagnoses, 49% were among African Americans, and the same percentage were among people living in the U.S. South. The programs also identified 8,917 people who had been previously diagnosed but were not in care, 59% of whom were African American, 17% were white, and 15% Latinx.
African Americans received HIV testing at twice the rate of whites or Latinos (43% versus 22% of HIV tests). Study authors identified stigma, comorbidities, and socioeconomic inequalities as risk factors for HIV acquisition and barriers to prevention and care, as well as to housing.
“To achieve the goals of the EHE initiative, HIV prevention programs will need to focus on locally tailored evidence-based testing strategies to overcome barriers for and enhance linkage to and retention in care, provide prophylaxis and treatment, and reduce onward HIV transmission and HIV-related disparities,” they concluded.