BeintheKnow; HIV; AIDSPost 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. 

Marvell Terry, II, HRC HIV & AIDS Project Fellow, remembers testing positive for HIV in 2007 and some of the barriers he faced connecting to care.

“It was difficult at first,” said Terry. “But knowing your HIV status is an important part of taking care of yourself and the people around you. On National Gay Men’s HIV & AIDS Awareness Day, we must be vigilant in our efforts to educate our community about the importance of getting tested and treated for HIV.”

Fast Facts:

  • Gay and bisexual men make-up roughly two percent of the U.S. American population, but comprised 63 percent of new HIV infections in 2010 (CDC).
  • At the end of 2011, 57 percent of all people living with HIV in the United States were gay or bisexual men (CDC).
  • Young, Black gay, bisexual, and same gender-loving men have been hit particularly hard by the epidemic. In fact, we have a 1-in-4 chance of becoming HIV-positive by the age of 25 (Black AIDS Institute).

Prevention Challenges:

  • 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 don’t know their HIV status, which means they are unable to benefit from early treatment and significantly reduce the likelihood of passing HIV onto a partner.
  • Stigma and discrimination - Gay and bisexual men still experience homophobia in many aspects of life, including from their healthcare providers. This deters many gay and bisexual men from seeking care when they may need it the most.

Ways to Learn More and Get Involved:

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.

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