Study results released last week by the HIV Prevention Trials Network (HPTN) show disturbing rates of new HIV infections occurring among African-American gay and bisexual men in the US (also known as men who have sex with men, or MSM), particularly young African-American MSM.

The HPTN 061 study showed that the overall rate of new HIV infection among African-American MSM in this study was 2.8 percent per year, a rate that is nearly 50 percent higher than in white MSM in the US.

HPTN 061 also found that young African-American MSM — those 30 years of age and younger — acquired HIV infection at a rate of 5.9 percent per year, three times the rate among US white MSM.

The overall infection rate among African-American MSM in the US study is comparable to the rate seen in the general populations of countries in sub-Saharan Africa, hardest hit by the HIV epidemic.

HPTN 061 was a large multi-site study of HIV and African-American MSM conducted in six US cities and the first to determine the rate of new HIV infection among such a large prospective cohort of US Black MSM (referred to as HIV incidence).

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