It's also a black problem. And an intravenous drug use problem. What it definitely is not is a straight, sober white guy's problem. I confess to being ignorant on the controversies surrounding the issue but the relative infection rates alone are more than enough to keep me from experiencing any surprise in recalling the outsized media attention the "AIDS epidemic" has received over the last couple of decades.
The CDC reports that today homosexual men are 44 times more likely than the rest of the population to be diagnosed as HIV-positive. Much of the rest of the data, however, are presented in absolute numbers of cases, which is hardly ideal for comparative purposes. Using the GSS to get at the percentages of white, black, and "other" (which includes about half of Hispanics) men who are homosexual and women who are heterosexual as well as US Census data for population figures and sex ratios by race, I created an HIV+ index in which values are derived by taking each group's representation among newly diagnosed HIV infections and dividing it by that group's representation among the US population at large. Thus, a value of 1 indicates HIV infection rates at exactly what would be expected if the virus afflicted all groups with equal frequency. A value greater (less) than 1 indicates higher (lower) HIV infection rates than would be expected based on population alone:
|Gay black men||42.40|
|Gay Hispanic men||19.69|
|Gay white men||12.77|
|Straight black women||2.14|
|Straight Hispanic women||0.49|
|Straight white women||0.14|
The CDC only included data on groups that constituted at least 2% of the total number of new infections. Consequently, there is nothing on heterosexual men of any
race. AIDS is full of hate, that's for sure! Because of the difficulty in accurately gauging needle usage by group, it's not shown in the table (but still included in the total number of new HIV infections).
As mentioned above, the CDC reports the much higher prevalence of HIV infections among gay men than among the rest of the population. Using the additional sources noted above, we are able to take that a step further and show how much more likely gay men of each race are to be infected by HIV relative to the non-gay male population:
If the comparison were strictly between sober gay and straight men, the gay multiples would be considerably higher than they are here. Women and drug users are more likely to be infected with HIV than straight men are, but the rest of the population necessarily amalgamates them into one big non-gay guy group because the CDC withheld data on heterosexual male HIV infections.
GSS variables used: NUMMEN, NUMWOMEN, SEX(1)(2), RACE(1)(2)(3)