CDC: Lower Socioeconomic Status Tied to Higher HIV Rate

Less than a high school degree, unemployment, and incomes at poverty level tied to higher HIV

THURSDAY, Aug. 11 (HealthDay News) -- The prevalence of HIV infections appears to be higher among individuals with lower socioeconomic status in urban areas with a high prevalence of AIDS, according to a report in the Aug. 12 issue of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The CDC surveyed individuals in 24 selected metropolitan statistical areas with a high prevalence of AIDS, using the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System during 2006 to 2007, to assess HIV risk behaviors and HIV prevalence among heterosexuals and other populations. The CDC interviewed and tested a total of 14,837 heterosexuals, aged 18 to 50 years.

The report revealed that 2 percent of those interviewed and tested were infected with HIV, with the prevalence higher among those with lower socioeconomic status. Specifically, the report revealed that HIV prevalence was 2.8 percent among individuals with less than a high school education as compared to 1.2 percent among those with more than a high school education. In addition, HIV prevalence was 2.6 percent among individuals who were unemployed as compared with 1 percent among those who were employed. The data also showed that HIV prevalence was 2.3 percent among individuals with annual household incomes at or below the poverty level as compared with 1 percent among those with incomes above the poverty level.

"In urban areas with high AIDS prevalence, HIV prevention activities aimed at heterosexuals should focus on low-income communities," the authors write. "In addition, structural interventions to improve socioeconomic conditions in low-income communities could potentially reduce the rate of new HIV infections in these areas."

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