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J Natl Med Assoc. 2009 Dec;101(12):1196-204.

HIV/AIDS disparities: the mounting epidemic plaguing US blacks.

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The University of Texas at Austin, College of Pharmacy Austin, Texas, USA.


The human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS epidemic presents a formidable challenge for the black community. Blacks, although a small proportion of the US population, are overrepresented, not only in the number of people living with HIV, but also in the categories of new diagnoses and AIDS-related deaths. Fortunately, national initiatives are in place to slow and ultimately reverse these racial inequities. While these disparities may be widely recognized, their causes are not clearly understood. A variety of underlying issues exist for blacks in the United States that may also contribute to these growing disparities. These include transmission risk factors, socioeconomic factors, underrecognition, delayed presentation, and other comorbid conditions. We present a review of the literature regarding the potential causes of racial disparities and how they may contribute to health outcomes for blacks with HIV/AIDS in the United States. We also identify possible gaps in knowledge and offer future directions for research of HIV/AIDS racial disparities.

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