Originally on TheRoot.com Kai Wright reports new CDC figures show HIV/AIDS more widespread than previously reported, a fact most black AIDS workers suspected for years.
Using their new tool, CDC researchers went back and created new estimates for the annual growth of America’s epidemic. The results were arresting. The CDC now says America has never logged fewer than 50,000 new infections a year. That low mark came in the early 1990s and leveled off there until the late 1990s, when infections began ticking upward.. From that point forward, there have been between 55,000 and 58,500 infections a year; in 2006, the most recent data available, the CDC found 56,300 new infections. That finding also implies that the current estimate for the total number of Americans living with HIV/AIDS—as many as 1.2 million—is inaccurate and that the real number is likely 40 percent higher as well. The CDC has said it will release a new estimate by year’s end. One thing the study doesn’t change is our understanding of who’s getting hit the hardest by all of this—black people and gay and bisexual men. African Americans accounted for 45 percent of 2006 infections, though we’re about 13 percent of the population. Gay men were 53 percent of all new infections that year.