Post submitted by Noël Gordon, former HRC Senior Program Specialist for HIV Prevention and Health Equity.
Today marks National Gay Men’s HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, an opportunity to focus our attention on the impact of HIV and AIDS on gay and bisexual men in the U.S.
Matthew Schaible, HRC Foundation Manager, remembers scouring online resources to determine if Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) was indeed right for him and eventually working up the nerve to ask his general practitioner for a prescription. "I imagine that conversation would've been a lot tougher if I lived in a community where HIV continues to be heavily stigmatized," said Schaible. "Medical providers should be well informed about the current realities of HIV, and they need to be proactive in recommending all available prevention and treatment options to the people in their care, especially young gay and bisexual men."
Fast Facts from the Centers for Disease Control:
- Gay and bisexual men make-up approximately 2 percent of the American population but 55 percent of all people living with HIV in the U.S..
- One in six gay and bisexual men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime if current trends continue.
- For white gay and bisexual men, the rate is 1 in 11.
- For Latino gay and bisexual men, the rate is 1 in 4.
- For Black gay and bisexual men, the rate is in 1 in 2.
- Gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 accounted for an estimated 92 percent of new HIV diagnoses among all men in their age group and 27 percent of new diagnoses among all gay and bisexual men.
- High prevalence rates: The large percentage of gay and bisexual men living with HIV means that, as a group, we have a much greater chance of coming into contact with HIV whether knowingly or not.
- Lack of awareness: Many gay and bisexual simply don’t know their HIV status, which means they are unable to take advantage of HIV prevention options such as Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or to benefit from early and sustained treatment, which can all but eliminate the likelihood of passing HIV onto a partner.
- Stigma and discrimination: Gay and bisexual men still experience homophobia in many aspects of their lives, including from their healthcare providers. This deters many gay and bisexual men from getting tested or treated for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
Ways to Learn More and Get Involved:
- Get tested for HIV and other STIs. Seek out treatment as soon as possible in order to stay healthy and reduce the spread of HIV.
- Take steps to protect yourself and your loves ones from the spread of HIV
- Seek out information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, GMHC, Greater Than AIDS, and other organizations working on this issue.
- Listen to and share the stories of gay and bisexual men living with HIV.
HRC is committed to working with our allies, partners, members, and supporters to end the HIV epidemic and the stigma surrounding HIV. Click here to learn more, and join the conversation on social media using the hashtag #BeInTheKnow and #NGMHAAD.