The 2010 National STD Prevention Conference, held in Atlanta, Georgia, is releasing new findings on the rates of HIV and syphilis among gay men. While all of us working on HIV/AIDS and other sexually transmitted disease have long known that gay and bisexual men have been hit hard, this is the first time the US government has attempted to truly quantify the impact.
This is both terrible news and enormously encouraging action. First, we have these data from CDC that confirm our worst fears: gay men are at least 44 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than other men, and at least 46 times more likely to be diagnosed with syphilis than other men. However, for the first time, our government is dedicated to truly understanding the epidemic among gay men. We commend the CDC for their work addressing the disproportionate impact of HIV on gay men.
The first step in addressing these issues is to understand how many gay men are living in the US. Previous administrations have neglected this population.
We are inspired by CDC’s attention to gay and bisexual men, their commitment to understanding the social determinants of HIV, and their recognition of the role of community partners. Clearly, we have much work to do to increase prevention efforts. Stopping this epidemic must involve the prioritization of the needs gay and bisexual men’s prevention efforts within every impacted community. It must also involve the community at every level. It is time that we revamp the prevention efforts in this country to address this complex issue.
AIDS Action Committee commends CDC for their unflinching look at this population and their culturally competent approach to addressing unmet needs.
About AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts AIDS Action Committee of Massachusetts , Inc., (AAC), New England’s first and largest AIDS service organization, is dedicated to stopping the spread of HIV/AIDS by preventing new infections and optimizing the health of those already infected. AAC provides free confidential services to men and women already living with HIV/AIDS, as well as conducts extensive educational and prevention outreach to those at risk of infection. AAC runs the only statewide HIV/AIDS and STD Hotline (1.800.235.2331) and Hepatitis Hotline (1.888.443.4372). All Hotlines offer support in Spanish, English and a variety of other languages. Free and confidential rapid HIV testing and counseling is available at AAC’s downtown Boston location and at its MALE Center in Boston’s South End neighborhood. AAC also advocates for effective science-based prevention programs. More information is available at www.aac.org and at AAC’s blog at blog.aac.org .