HIV infections declining among young men, according to new data

NOW: HIV infections declining among young men, according to new data

MILWAUKEE (CBS 58) -- A decline in new HIV infections is being reported this week. Trends began to dip before the pandemic and continue to slow today, according to the CDC.

The CDC has a national HIV Surveillance System, which analyzed data collected from local health departments. The most recent numbers show a double digit drop in those newly infected by HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Milwaukee is also seeing fewer infections.

Ricardo Galaviz, Associate Director of the MKE LGBT Community Center, says more people in the LGBTQ community are putting their health first.

"I think the generations of gay and bisexual men, especially since the 80's, we have been educating ourselves in sexual health," he said.

The most recent CDC data shows about 32,000 Americans were newly infected by HIV in 2021, a 12% drop since 2017.

Health officials estimate the decline is due to fewer new infections among gay and bisexual males under age 24.

While infections are declining across multiple racial and ethnic groups, the numbers for young Black and Hispanic men are still higher.

"In those communities, there's still a lot of transphobia and homophobia," said Galaviz.

Regular testing is encouraged and the MKE LGBT Community Center provides it, as well as other health screenings and many other resources for all ages.

While overall infections are declining, data also shows that close to one in five Americans newly diagnosed with HIV do not seek treatment within a month of their results.

Health officials also say that most people who are at risk, are not receiving preventative medication.

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