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Among Blacks, Late-Stage HIV Diagnosis Varies by Rurality

Across rural, urban, metropolitan areas, linkage to care within one month of diagnosis was similar but below targets

FRIDAY, Feb. 19, 2021 (HealthDay News) — The percentage of Black people with late-stage HIV diagnosis varies according to population area of residence and is higher in rural than urban and metropolitan areas, according to research published in the Feb. 19 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Shacara Johnson Lyons, M.S.P.H., from the CDC in Atlanta, and colleagues describe HIV care outcomes among Black individuals with diagnosed HIV infection during 2018 by population area of residence using National HIV Surveillance System data.

The researchers found that the percentage of late-stage diagnoses was higher for Black persons in rural areas than in urban and metropolitan areas in 2018 (25.2 percent versus 21.9 and 19.0 percent, respectively). Across all areas, linkage to care within one month of diagnosis was similar (76.7, 77.0, and 77.2 percent in rural, urban, and metropolitan areas, respectively), while the highest level of viral suppression within six months of diagnosis was seen in metropolitan areas (63.8 percent versus 59.6 and 59.7 percent in rural and urban areas, respectively).

“In all areas, the percentages of persons who were linked to care within one month of diagnosis and who had viral suppression within six months of diagnosis were substantially below the Ending the HIV Epidemic initiative targets of 95 percent,” the authors write. “These findings likely underscore known differences in health-related behaviors, physical and sociocultural environments, and access to and use of health care systems among Black urban and rural HIV populations.”

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