(HealthDay News) — Even though Hispanics in the United States become infected with HIV at rates triple those of whites, less than half of Hispanics with the virus are receiving adequate treatment, according to research published in the October 10 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
The report, based on 2010 U.S. government health data, finds that while 80% of HIV-infected Hispanics do receive care soon after their diagnosis, only 54.4% continue that care and only 44.4% receive antiretroviral therapy. The researchers, led by epidemiologist Zanetta Gant, PhD, of the CDC, also found that only 36.9% of the 172,536 HIV-positive Hispanic adults in the United States have achieved viral suppression. The findings “underscore the need for enhanced linkage to care, retention in care, and viral suppression for Hispanics or Latinos,” Gant’s team writes.
Rates of care and viral suppression were similar for men and women and across age groups, the CDC team noted. But Hispanics who contracted HIV through the use of illicit, injected drugs had lower rates of care compared to other groups. The authors note that many factors may be at play contributing to the low rates of HIV care in Hispanics, including “lack of health insurance, language barriers, geographic differences, and migration patterns.”
The CDC says it has outreach programs in place to try to help Hispanic Americans determine their HIV status and get treatment if necessary. “One such campaign is Reasons [Razones], which is the agency’s first national effort to encourage HIV testing among Latino gay and bisexual men, who comprise the majority of Hispanics or Latinos diagnosed with HIV,” according to the authors.