10 Things to Know About Health Equity

Notes from the “Health Equity: The New Frontier in Civil Rights” panel hosted by the SUNY Downstate Office of Diversity and Inclusion. Professors and deans from the Downstate College of Medicine, Health Related Professions and School of Public Health took part in the panel.

“You might be a little girl or a little boy, but because the disease prevalence (HIV) is so high in your community, you are more likely to encounter someone who has the problem and gives it to you,” said Wayne Duffus, MD, PhD. Dr. Duffus is associate director for the Center for Disease Control’s Office of Health Equity, promoting health in every social circumstance, and director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention (NCHHHSTP).

Dr. Duffus delivered the keynote address, and accepted Downstate’s fifth annual Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award Jan. 28, 2016 on behalf of the NCHHHSTP.

1. Health equity centers on enabling everyone to achieve their full health potential regardless of socially determined circumstances.*

2. Access to quality education, healthcare, housing, transportation, equitable pay, equal employment and absence of societal discrimination all impact health.

3. The average life expectancy, 1950 to 2010, for a white American was 78.8 years, compared to 74.7 for a black American.

4. Lower income generally means worse health. Ethnic differences also affect health, with approx. 20% of black and Hispanic people in either poor or fair health, compared to 11.4% of whites.

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5. College graduates live five years longer on average than those who haven’t finished high school.

6. 46% of adults and adolescents with HIV live in four states, California, Texas, Florida and New York. African Americans are eight times, and Hispanics are three times, more likely to have HIV than whites.

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7. If current trends continue, half of black men who have sex with men (MSM) will have HIV by age 35, and half of all MSM will have HIV by 50.

8. The equity strategy involves informational campaigns, condom distribution, routine testing and interventions.

9. In 2005, $102 million was distributed over three years to 25 jurisdictions with more than 140 AIDS diagnoses. As a result, 3,381 diagnoses were averted, saving $1.1 billion in direct medical costs.

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10. In 2015, $185 million over three years will go to support HIV prevention among MSM and transgender people.


*Information provided by the CDC.
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