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CDC awards $55 million for HIV prevention among gay, bisexual and transgender youth of color

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced today that it would award $55 million to community-based organizations across the country in order to expand HIV prevention services directed at gay, bisexual, and transgender youth of color.  Today’s award expands upon existing prevention programs with an increase of $10 million in funding.  The new awards are one part of CDC’s efforts to reduce HIV infections among young men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender youth of color and supports President Obama’s National HIV/AIDS Strategy, which calls for prioritizing prevention efforts for the most-affected populations.

Recent data has shown that young MSM of color face an increasingly high risk of HIV infection.  According to CDC estimates released in August, between 2006 and 2009, the annual number of new HIV infections increased 48 percent among young black MSM.  Among Latinos, men who have sex with men are by far the most severely impacted, accounting for nearly two-thirds of all new infections. Nearly half of these infections among Latino MSM occurred in the youngest age group (aged 13-29). Transgender people are also severely affected by HIV.  The CDC also estimates that around 28 percent of transgender people are HIV-infected.

The new awards will enable community based organizations serving these youth to better meet the HIV prevention needs of this population.   In order to receive an award, each organization must provide specific prevention services. These include providing HIV testing to a total of more than 90,000 young gay and bisexual men and transgender youth of color, with a goal of identifying more than 3,500 previously unrecognized HIV infections (over the five-year funding period) – and linking those who are HIV-infected to care and prevention services. Participating organizations will also carry out proven behavioral change HIV prevention programs and distribute condoms to young gay and bisexual men and transgender youth of color who are at high risk for HIV or are HIV-infected.

In a statement released yesterday, Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention marked National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day saying that “we are reminded of the urgency of the HIV epidemic in the United States and the dramatic impact among gay and bisexual men, who account for more than 60 percent of new infections.  We must also recognize that the epidemic cannot be overcome without effectively addressing the severe and rising toll of HIV infections among gay and bisexual men of color, who continue to be hardest hit by this disease.”

For more information visit the CDC’s website at http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/.

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