07/23/2012 04:42 EDT | Updated 09/22/2012 05:12 EDT

Black Gay Men Rate Of HIV Infection Soaring To Epidemic Levels, According to New Study


WASHINGTON - New research shows black gay men are becoming infected with the AIDS virus at higher rates than their white counterparts, sparking urgent calls to address this growing part of the epidemic.

A study funded by the U.S. National Institutes of Health tracked black gay and bisexual men in six cities, and found the rate of new infections is 2.8 per cent a year. That's 50 per cent higher than is seen in white men who have sex with men.

Worse, among those 30 and younger, nearly 6 per cent a year were becoming infected. The authors said those rates rival some parts of sub-Saharan Africa.

The study didn't measure national prevalence of HIV in this population, but the government has long called HIV among young black gay men alarming.