Association Between Social Vulnerability and Rates of HIV Diagnoses Among Black Adults, by Selected Characteristics and Region of Residence - United States, 2018

MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2022 Feb 4;71(5):167-170. doi: 10.15585/mmwr.mm7105a2.


During 2018, Black or African American (Black) persons accounted for 43% of all new diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States (1). The annual diagnosis rate (39.2 per 100,000 persons) among Black persons was four times the rate among all other racial/ethnic groups combined, indicating a profound disparity in HIV diagnoses (1,2). Community-level social and structural factors, such as social vulnerability, might help explain the higher rate of HIV diagnoses among Black persons. Social vulnerability refers to the potential negative health effects on communities caused by external stresses (3). CDC used National HIV Surveillance System (NHSS)* and Social Vulnerability Index (SVI) data to examine the association between diagnosed HIV infections and social vulnerability among Black adults aged ≥18 years. Black adults in communities in the highest quartile of SVI were 1.5 times (rate ratio [RR] = 1.5; 95% CI = 1.4-1.6) as likely to receive a diagnosis of HIV infection as were those in communities in the lowest quartile. Because of a history of racial discrimination and residential segregation, some Black persons in the United States reside in communities with the highest social vulnerability (4,5), and this finding is associated with experiencing increased risk for HIV infection. The development and prioritization of interventions that address social determinants of health (i.e., the conditions in which persons are born, grow, live, work, and age), are critical to address the higher risk for HIV infection among Black adults living in communities with high levels of social vulnerability. Such interventions might help prevent HIV transmission and reduce disparities among Black adults.

Publication types

  • Technical Report

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Black People*
  • Female
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology*
  • HIV Infections / ethnology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Residence Characteristics
  • Social Determinants of Health
  • Social Vulnerability*
  • United States / epidemiology
  • United States / ethnology