African American Women Remain Disproportionately Affected By HIV Interview with:
Donna Hubbard McCree, PhD MPH, RPh
Association Director for Health Equity/Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: HIV diagnosis rates among women declined 40% between 2005 and 2014 with the largest decline, 42%, occurring in black women. However, in 2015 black women represented 61% of HIV diagnoses among women. Our goal in this analysis was to determine whether the decline resulted in a decrease in the disparities among African American, Hispanic and white women between 2010 and 2014. There is currently not a standard method for measuring HIV-related disparity.

However, for this analysis we used three different measures – the absolute rate difference (the difference between the group with the lowest rate and the group with the highest rate); 2) the diagnosis disparity ratio (the ratio of the difference between the group rate and the overall population rate to the overall rate); and 3) the Index of Disparity (the average of the differences between rates for specific groups and the total rate divided by the total rate, expressed as a percentage). The absolute rate difference between black women and white women decreased annually, from 36.9 in 2010 to 28.3 in 2014. The diagnosis disparity ratio for black women compared to the total population decreased from 1.7 in 2010 to 1.2 in 2014. The Index of Disparity increased during 2010–2011, and then decreased each year during 2012–2014. Although disparities still exist, these findings indicate improvement. What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Despite progress, African American women remain disproportionately affected by HIV infection. Expanding access to biomedical and behavioral interventions and research guided by social and structural determinants frameworks could close the remaining gap.

CDC is working to close the gap through a high-impact prevention approach that focuses resources on programs and initiatives that can have the biggest impact. What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this study?

Response: Further studies are needed to identify factors associated with decreases in these disparities and to investigate whether the decreases are uniform or differ systematically (e.g., by geographical location) across the United States.  Future research needs to include a focus on access to testing and treatment for African American women and men and social determinants of health, including poverty and suboptimal educational and employment opportunities that disproportionately affect some African American communities and might impede HIV prevention programs. Is there anything else you would like to add?

Response: These findings underscore the importance of HIV testing, treatment and prevention among African Americans. For individuals: First, get the facts  and learn how to protect yourself and how to get care and treatment.  Also, get tested. Everyone should get tested at least once in their lifetime, more often for people with specific risk factors. For more information for more information on HIV risk and prevention, where to get tested, and the benefits of HIV care and treatment please visit Thank you for your contribution to the community.


McCree DH, Sutton M, Bradley E, Harris N. Changes in the Disparity of HIV Diagnosis Rates Among Black Women — United States, 2010–2014. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep 2017;66:104–106. DOI:

Note: Content is Not intended as medical advice. Please consult your health care provider regarding your specific medical condition and questions.

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Last Updated on February 9, 2017 by Marie Benz MD FAAD