Patterns of Racial/Ethnic Disparities and Prevalence in HIV and Syphilis Diagnoses Among Men Who Have Sex With Men, 2016: A Novel Data Visualization

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Abstract

Objectives

To describe disparities in HIV infection and syphilis among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in US states through ratio-based measures and graphical depictions of disparities.

Methods

We used state-level surveillance data of reported HIV and syphilis cases in 2015 and 2016, and estimates of MSM population sizes to estimate HIV and syphilis prevalence by race/ethnicity and rate ratios (RRs) and to visually display patterns of disparity and prevalence among US states.

Results

State-specific rates of new HIV diagnoses were higher for Black than for White MSM (RR range = 2.35 [Rhode Island] to 10.12 [Wisconsin]) and for Hispanic than for White MSM (RR range = 1.50 [Tennessee] to 5.78 [Pennsylvania]). Rates of syphilis diagnoses were higher for Black than for White MSM in 42 of 44 states (state RR range = 0.89 [Hawaii] to 17.11 [Alaska]). Scatterplots of HIV diagnosis rates by race showed heterogeneity in epidemic scenarios, even in states with similar ratio-based disparity measures.

Conclusions

There is a widely disparate impact of HIV and syphilis among Black and Hispanic MSM compared with White MSM. Between-state variation suggests that states should tailor and focus their prevention responses to best address state data.

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