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Associated Press
Officials say blacks show higher HIV numbers

<p>Staff Writer</p>

February 8, 2013

JACKSON, Miss. (AP) - Mississippi health officials say new data shows African Americans remain most likely to be diagnosed with HIV infection.

In 2011, Mississippi's African American women were nearly11 times more likely than white women and nearly twice as likely as Hispanic women to be newly diagnosed with HIV. African American men were seven times more likely than white men and three times more likely than Hispanic men to be newly diagnosed.

Dr. Nicholas Mosca, director of the Mississippi State Department of Health's Office of STD/HIV, said the data suggests that African Americans are more likely to be in a situation where HIV status is unknown or undisclosed.

"Those who have sex outside of a long-term mutually monogamous relationship shouldn't 'guess' a partner's status or rely on their honesty," said Mosca. "Casual sex always requires the correct and consistent use of condoms and routine HIV testing after each sexual encounter to determine exposure to HIV infection."

MSDH offers free and confidential HIV testing at all of its county health departments. It also partners with community-based organizations, some hospital emergency departments, mental health facilities, and alcohol and drug treatment centers to increase access to HIV testing.

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