NY Gay Black Men Hit Hard by AIDS
     .c The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) - The AIDS virus is striking hardest in New York City today among young black men, a new survey has found, with 33 percent of gay or bisexual black men ages 23 to 29 testing positive for HIV.

The study conducted by the city's Health Department found that young black New Yorkers ``are experiencing a larger burden of the HIV infection,'' Sandra Mullin, the department's associate commissioner of public affairs, said Wednesday.

Only 2 percent of the city's white gay men in the same age group were HIV-positive, while 14 percent of Hispanics were infected, the survey found.  ``We don't have a solid explanation for that because we don't see the kinds of differentials in behavior between black and white men to explain this,'' said Lucia Torian, who directed the study.

The Health Department surveyed 542 men who identified themselves as either gay or bisexual. A new test was used in the survey that allowed researchers to determine if the infection had occurred within six months.

The subjects in the New York study were tested between March 1999 to July 2000. Researchers said the men who tested positive in all racial groups tended to have had sex without condoms.