Amazing Science News
HIV Infection and Geography
NEWARK IS ONE OF SIX LOCATIONS in the U.S. that are the focus of a new study whose findings indicate that the HIV incidence rate for women in this country living in areas hardest hit by the epidemic is much higher than the overall estimated incidence rate in the U.S. for black women. The study was designed‚ and the national research team chaired‚ by Sally Hodder‚ MD‚ professor and vice chair of the NJMS Department of Medicine.
At the 19th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in Seattle‚ the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) announced results from its HPTN 064 Women's HIV Seroincidence Study‚ which found an HIV incidence of 0.24% in the study cohort of 2‚099 women (88% black)‚ a rate that is five–fold higher than that estimated for black women overall by the CDC. The rate noted in the study is comparable to estimated HIV incidence rates in the general population in several countries in sub–Saharan Africa including the Congo and Kenya. The six geographical areas chosen for the study — Atlanta‚ Raleigh–Durham‚ Washington D.C.‚ Baltimore‚ Newark‚ NJ‚ and New York City — are locations where HIV and poverty are known to be more common.
Between May 2009 and July 2010‚ the study‚ which was funded by the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases‚ enrolled 2‚099 women ages 18 to 44 years‚ 88 percent black and 12 percent Hispanic/Latina. Women constitute roughly one–quarter of new HIV infections in the U.S. with 66 percent of these infections occurring among black women‚ although black women constitute only 14 percent of the U.S. female population. In this country‚ the age–adjusted death rate of black women with HIV is roughly 15 times higher than that observed for HIV–infected white women.
Another significant finding from the study is the high number of women who were found to have HIV infection at the time of enrollment (32 women or 1.5%). These women were previously unaware of their HIV status. This finding highlights the need to increase awareness of HIV risk and expand novel HIV testing and prevention efforts in high prevalence areas.