Potterat, J. J., Brewer, D. D., & Brody, S. (2008). Blind spots in the epidemiology of HIV in African-Americans. International Journal of STD &AIDS, 19, 1-3.
In the USA, annual rates of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/AIDS diagnoses are seven and 21 times higher in black men and women, respectively, than in whites. Epidemiological inquiry on this disparity has chiefly focused on contextual factors; such emphasis has eclipsed study of direct HIV vectors. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently announced its intention to curb HIV propagation in black communities, recommending culturally appropriate HIV/AIDS strategies. Contemplated societal interventions should be informed by data evaluating more direct (and under-assessed) HIV transmission vectors, specifically anal intercourse and unsuspected blood exposures. This recommendation involves tracing sexual and non-sexual contacts of recently infected persons and uninfected controls, coupled with DNA sequencing of HIV isolates. Public health authorities do not know the extent to which unmeasured yet plausible HIV transmission vectors can account for ethnic disparities. Appropriate prevention strategies depend critically on direct, rather than ecologic, evidence.
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