HealthDay News — Men who have sex with men (MSM) make up the majority of Americans infected with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), and half of these men are not receiving ongoing care or being prescribed antiretroviral therapy (ART), according to research published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC’s) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

“Increasing access to care and sustained treatment is critical for improving health outcomes and to reduce the potential of transmitting HIV among MSM, who are the majority of persons with HIV infection,” noted Sonia Singh, PhD, of the CDC, and colleagues.

The researchers looked at data from more than 400,000 American MSM who were infected with HIV in 2010. Although 77.5% of patients did get medical care for their HIV infection within three months of diagnosis, only about 51% continued getting care on an ongoing basis, reported the agency.

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Men who were younger or a member of a minority group appeared to be at highest risk of not getting the HIV-related treatment they needed. For example, 84% of men aged 45 to 54 years with a new diagnosis of HIV initiated medical care, but that proportion dropped to 71% for males aged 13 to 24 years.

A similar age gap was seen in statistics related to ongoing retention in HIV medical care. The gap widened when it came to men receiving ART. Although nearly 68% of HIV-infected MSM aged 55 years or older began treatment with ART, that number fell to just 30.5% for patients aged 18 to 24 years.

The CDC also reported that minorities were more likely to miss out on needed care (72% initiated treatment) when compared with white MSM (83%).

All of these numbers fall short of targets from the CDC’s National HIV/AIDs Strategy, which aims to have 80% of HIV-infected MSM retained in ongoing medical care by 2015.