HIV death rates declined between 1993 and 2007 for most men and women, but remain high among blacks, according to a new report.
Researchers tied the trend, detailed in the Archives of Internal Medicine, to widespread use of highly active antiretroviral therapy (HAART). But the results found not all groups of Americans have benefited equally from its availability.
Many factors influence continuing racial and ethnic disparities in HIV deaths, including infection rates and delays in diagnosis and treatment, according to the report.SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.
"We documented substantial absolute declines in HIV death rates during 1993-2007 for all groups, although relative declines were greatest among those with the highest vs. lowest levels of [socioeconomic status], leading to widening inequalities,” the researchers said. “Notably, HIV death rates remained markedly high among non-Hispanic black men … and were unchanged for non-Hispanic black women in the lowest [socioeconomic status]."
For the study, led by Edgar P. Simard of the American Cancer Society, researchers analyzed 91,307 deaths due to HIV from 1993-2007 among individuals 25 to 64 years of age in 26 states. Among their findings:
• Among men with the most education, mortality rates per 100,000 population decreased from 117.89 to 15.35 in blacks vs. from 26.42 to 1.79 in whites.
• Rates were unchanged for the least-educated black women and remained high for similarly educated black men.
• HIV death rates among non-Hispanic black men with 12 or fewer years of education (52.71 per 100,000 population in 2005-2007) were higher than rates among similarly educated non-Hispanic white men before widely available HIV therapies (25.77 per 100,000 population in 1993-1995).
"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 researchers said.SPECIAL: These 4 Things Happen Right Before a Heart Attack — Read More.