Whitman-Walker Health


Five Factors Behind the ‘Alarming’ HIV Infection Rate for Young Black Gay and Bisexual Men

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A young man inserts the Rapid HIV test swab into its tube.

The HIV infection rate for young black men who have sex with men is growing at an “alarming” rate.

That’s according to a report released this month by the Centers For Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC studied HIV infection rates from 2006 to 2009, and found that the rate increased by 48 percent for 13 to 29 year-old black men who have sex with men. Meanwhile, infection rates have remained relatively stable for all other groups.

Healthcare providers and organizers in D.C., where 3 percent of the population has HIV/AIDS, are seeing the trend. Justin Goforth is the director of community health at Whitman-Walker Health, a center offering medical, counseling and legal services to D.C.’s LGBT community.

“This is who we see come in every day that’s testing positive: young black gay men,” Goforth says.

Below are five factors contributing to higher infection rate among this group:

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