The age-adjusted death rate declined 25% for black Americans and 14% for white Americans between 1999 and 2015, reducing the overall disparity between black and white death rates from 33% to 16%, according to a report released today by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Among specific improvements, death rates for black Americans declined 67% for HIV, 39% for heart disease, 38% for cerebrovascular diseases, 29% for cancer and 26% for diabetes over the 17-year period. Among Americans aged 65 and older, the mortality gap between the two races closed completely. “Important gaps are narrowing due to improvements in the health of the black population overall,” said Leandris Liburd, associate director of CDC’s Office of Minority Health and Health Equity. “However, we still have a long way to go. Early health interventions can lead to longer, healthier lives. In particular, diagnosing and treating the leading diseases that cause death at earlier stages is an important step for saving lives.”