How Is HIV Different in African Americans?

It is a common fact that HIV does not discriminate against who it infects; however, having HIV doesn’t always mean the same thing…especially if you’re African American. Research has shown that African Americans have higher rates of HIV infections, they get sicker faster, and get treatment later than other ethnicities. There are many myths that exist in the community to explain why more African Americans die from HIV that other races. There is a cure for HIV, but they won’t give it to black people, or there is a vaccine, but the government doesn’t want black people to know about it. The truth is that there are factors, other than HIV itself, that cause the virus to acct more aggressively in African Americans. On average, African Americans tend to wait longer to get tested which causes their response to HAART (highly active antiretroviral treatment) to be less effective, the side effects to treatment medications are often worse than in other patients, and other lifetstyle and environmental factors that are prevalent in African Americans have been shown effect HIV and HIV treatment.
A group of HIV specialists and researchers were brought together to explain these findings, and the answers are both shocking ans surprising. African Americans are predisposed to some factors that affect HIV infection, and there are also several lifestyle and living factors that contribute to the effects as well.
Although we still have a lot to learn about HIV and why it affects certain groups of people differently than others, we are making lots of progress in research. While there are many myths and explanations for why HIV is worse in African Americans, most of them are false. The real reasons for this phenomenon lie within several factors that surround the HIV-positive person, including diet, living conditions, adherence, and more. Perhaps with these findings we will be able to develop a more effective and suitable HIV treatment plan for everyone.
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