The United States profile of HIV prevalence and incidence shows considerable disproportionate distribution of various aspects of the pandemic among male and female population as well as among different races. HIV infection is a serious communicable disease that has necessitated heavy government expenditure in a bid to minimise its incidence and prevalence. Studies have shown that the distribution of HIV prevalence and incidence rates differ between African-Americans and Whites and from one gender to another. Other studies have also sought to determine factors that may have led to this finding.
HIV prevalence has been reported to be higher among African-Americans than their White counterparts. For instance, a study by Karon and John (1) illustrate that HIV prevalence has remained higher among African-Americans than their White counterparts since 1992. Another study by Hall and colleagues reports that in 2006, forty five percent of HIV new infections were among the African-American (15). This value indicates that more Blacks than Whites contacted the disease in 2006.Many other studies reports similar findings hence eliciting a conclusion that HIV prevalence and incidence rates are higher among Blacks than Whites.
Even though reasons behind the disparity in distribution of HIV infections among Blacks and Whites have not been fully explored, studies have found that the propensity of individuals drawn from the two races to engage in risky behaviours is similar. For instance, a study conducted by Buhi and colleagues (2) found that whites are less likely to use condoms for vaginal, anal, and oral sex than their Black counterparts. On the hand, the same study reports that Blacks are more likely to have more sexual partners than whites. This study shows that both Whites and Blacks are equally likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors with the difference being the actual behavior. However, another study by Bird, Fingerhut, and McKirnan (1) found that African-Americans are less likely to disclose their HIV status to their sexual partners than their White counterparts.
Disparities in HIV prevalence among African-Americans and Whites are linked to factors that influence characteristics of sexual networks (Adimora, and Schoenbach, 2). These factors include; prevalence of concurrent partnerships among a population, the extent f connectivity of social networks, racial segregation, sex ratios, and other factors influencing social context of individuals.
Studies have shown that there is disparity between Blacks and Whites in prevalence of concurrent partners. For instance, according to findings from survey carried out by National Survey of Family Growth (NSFG), reported by Adimora (2), Black women population exhibit higher prevalence of concurrent partners than White women.
Another factor with implications on social networks is the ratio of males to female populations. According to Guttentag, Marcia, and Paul, Secord (5), this influences the likelihood of individuals especially males to have multiple sexual partners. Cherlin states that the ratio of males to females in African-American population is considerably low. This is likely to be one of the reasons why there is disparity in prevalence of HIV between Blacks and Whites.
The various sources reviewed have pointed out that there is high prevalence of HIV infection among African-Americans than Whites. However, a conclusion can be drawn that this is not attributed to the Blacks’ propensity to engage in risky behaviors. It is instead owed to their social, economic, and political environment.
Adimora, Adaora A, Victor J. Schoenbach, Dana M. Bonas, Francis E. A. Martinson, Kathryn H. Donaldson, and Tonya R. Stancil. "Concurrent Sexual Partnerships Among Women in the United States." Epidemiology. 13.3 (2002): 320-327. Print.
Bird, JD, DD Fingerhut, and DJ McKirnan. "Ethnic Differences in Hiv-Disclosure and Sexual Risk." Aids Care. 23.4 (2011): 444-8. Print.
Buhi, ER, SL Marhefka, and MT Hoban. "The State of the Union: Sexual Health Disparities in a National Sample of Us College Students." Journal of American College Health : J of Ach. 58.4 (2010). Print.
Cherlin, Andrew J. Marriage, Divorce, Remarriage. Cambridge, Mass: Harvard University Press, 1981. Print.
Fagen, J, L.J McCornick, A Kontos, R.H Venable, and P.B Anderson. "The Influence of Gender and Race on Sexual Assault Among High Risk Drinkers." Race Gender and Class. 18 (2011): 215-229. Print.Bottom of Form
Guttentag, Marcia, and Paul F. Secord. Too Many Women?: The Sex Ratio Question. Beverly Hills: Sage Publications, 1983. Print.
Hall, HI, R Song, P Rhodes, J Prejean, Q An, LM Lee, J Karon, R Brookmeyer, EH Kaplan, MT McKenna, and RS Janssen. "Estimation of Hiv Incidence in the United States." Jama : the Journal of the American Medical Association. 300.5 (2008): 520-9. Print
Karon, John M. "Hiv in the United States at the Turn of the Century: An Epidemic in Transition." American Journal of Public Health. 91.7 (2001). Print.Bottom of Form