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According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Black gay and bisexual men have a fifty percent chance of being diagnosed with the HIV virus.

The reports, “For the average American, the odds of an HIV infection is 1 in 99 and has been declining. But the risk varies widely for different groups. For example, the projection is 1 in 2 for gay black men but fewer than 1 in 2,500 for heterosexual white men.

The lifetime risk of HIV contraction among gay men is 1 in 2 for Black men, 1 in 4 for Hispanic men, and 1 in 11 for White men.

Statistics from the CDC indicate that in the last ten years, “from 2005 to 2014, the number of new HIV diagnoses among African American gay and bisexual men increased 22%. But that number stabilized in recent years, increasing less than 1% between 2010 and 2014.”

The CDC blames the following socioeconomic factors for the disturbing rates of HIV in African-American gay and bisexual men:

  • limited access to and use of quality health care
  • lower income and educational levels
  • higher rates of unemployment and incarceration

On Tuesday’s edition of NewsOne NowEarl Fowlkes, President of the Center for Black Equity, joined Roland Martin on set to discuss these alarming stats, the causes for the spike in infection, and what can be done to slow down the deadly disease.

NewsOne Now panelist Cleo Manago took offense to the CDC’s reasoning as to the causes of the increase in the HIV infection rate saying, “There’s a lot of misconception about this disease.”

He believes the issues of poverty and education are non-factors in the spread of the disease because there are “people who are poor without HIV, and it’s very difficult to find a homosexual or bisexual man who doesn’t understand that HIV is an issue and how to get it.”

Manago faults the “Black HIV industry” for the rise in infections. He went so far as to call the industry “incompetent” and said it is “run by people who are gay activists as opposed to healthcare professionals and people that understand public health, epidemiology, and how to deal with communicable disease.”

Earl Fowlkes explained that resources to fight the epidemic are “not allocated to where the need is great” and there are “fewer organizations now than there were 20 years ago to even do the work in the Black community.”

He added, “The resources aren’t there, the organizations aren’t there because they died — they withered on the vine because of the lack of resources.”

“Now we have this horrific pandemic that’s been affecting our community for years and there are very few organizations to take care of it and there are very few dollars that are being shifted to it,” Fowlkes said.

He added, “This is a result of benign neglect.”

Watch Roland Martin, Cleo Manago, Earl Fowlkes, and the NewsOne Now panel discuss the rise in HIV infections within the Black male gay and bisexual community in the video clip above.

TV One’s NewsOne Now has moved to 7 A.M. ET, be sure to watch “NewsOne Now” with Roland Martin, in its new time slot on TV One.

Subscribe to the “NewsOne Now” Audio Podcast on iTunes. 


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