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Military Medicine

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Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) infection continues at a steady rate among U.S. Sailors and Marines. This study provides the first service-specific description of HIV infection demographics. All Sailors and Marines identified as HIV infected between January 2005 and August 2010 were included. The project compared personnel and epidemiologic data, and tested reposed sera in the Department of Defense Serum Repository. This group comprised 410 Sailors and 86 Marines, predominantly men. HIV infected Marines were more likely to be foreign born than their Navy counterparts, 42% versus 10%, p < 0.001. Approximately half of the patients had deployed including to the wars in Iraq or Afghanistan. Nearly half of each group was infected by the age of 25. Similar to the U.S. epidemic, Black race was over-represented. Unlike national rates, Hispanic Sailors and Marines were not over-represented. Demographics were distinct for those of specific occupational specialties. Certain ship classes carried lower incidences. Clustering of HIV infection risk occurred around deployment. The Navy and Marine Corps have different patterns of HIV infection, which may merit distinct approaches to prevention. The Navy may have unique targets for prevention efforts to include pipeline training and first assignment as well as particular occupational environments.



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