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| Monday, March 07, 2011

The Center for Disease Control and Living Out Loud with Darian have teamed up to make sure Black gay men are being proactive about our sexual health. You may have noticed the banner on the right side of the blog all month questioning your HIV status. If you don't know your status simply click on the banner to find a testing site in your area. In the case of HIV/AIDS what you don't know can hurt you.

Here's a few facts as it relates to HIV/AIDS among black gay men directly from the CDC:

• By race/ethnicity, African Americans face the most severe burden of HIV in the
United States.

• 1 in 16 Black men will be diagnosed with HIV at some point in his lifetime.

• Every 9½ minutes (on average), someone in the United States is infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

• More than 1 million people in the United States are living with HIV.

• Of those 1 million people living with HIV, 1 out of 5 do not know they are infected. (People who have HIV but don't know it can unknowingly pass the virus to their partners).

• It is important for everyone to get the facts, talk about HIV/AIDS with partners and loved ones, reduce risk behaviors, and get tested to learn their HIV status.

• Put yourself to the test. CDC recommends that gay and bisexual men be tested for HIV at least annually. Men with multiple partners or anonymous partners, and men who have sex while using drugs or whose partner engages in these activities, should be tested more frequently (every 3-6 months).

• Check and recheck. Knowing and rechecking your HIV status is a critical step toward stopping HIV transmission, because if you know you are infected, you can take steps to protect your partners. Also, if you are infected, the sooner you find out, the sooner you can receive life-extending treatment.

• Start talking. Talk to everyone you know about HIV—friends and family, coworkers, and neighbors. Have ongoing and open discussions with your partners about HIV testing and risk behaviors.

• Talking openly about HIV can reduce the stigma that keeps too many from seeking the testing, prevention and treatment services, and support they need.

• Call 1-800-CDC-INFO or visit www.hivtest.org to find HIV testing locations near you.