The Grio has an alarming report on the steady increase in new HIV infections among black gay men.
The Grio reports:
Black gay and bisexual men of all ages account for 73 percent of new infections among black men, and the latest statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal that the burden of HIV is growing among some of the youngest members of our community.
CDC just reported that HIV infections are up sharply among black gay and bisexual men under the age of 30 -- the only race and risk group in the United States to experience a significant increase between 2006 and 2009.
Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of National HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention for The Center for Disease Control writes:
A recent study of 21 major cities found that the majority of young black gay and bisexual men who were HIV-infected were unaware of their HIV status. These high rates of unawareness, coupled with the fact that young gay men tend to underestimate their chances of getting infected, are contributing to the increasing numbers of HIV infections we are seeing today.
When considering all of this information, the challenge before us is clear: we cannot end the black AIDS epidemic without confronting HIV among black gay men, and the stigma and homophobia that allows HIV to flourish in our communities.
The stigma of homosexuality runs deep in many of our communities. For young men who are just coming to terms with their sexuality, the weight of this stigma can be crushing. Tragically, it keeps many too fearful to seek the life-saving HIV prevention, testing and treatment services they need.
To protect the health of the next generation, each of us needs to confront the stigma that forces too many of our sons, brothers and friends into the shadows, and prevents them from seeking HIV prevention services that can help reverse the current trend.
The White House Office of Communications responds to the recent data implicating the urgency of curbing new infections among black gay men in an e-mail to loldarian.com:
Announced by White House officials in July 2010, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy seeks to reduce HIV incidence in the United States and prioritizes HIV prevention efforts in the populations where HIV is most heavily concentrated – gay and bisexual men of all races, African Americans and Latinos. To implement the Strategy, CDC is pursuing “High-Impact Prevention,” an approach that will prioritize prevention activities based on their effectiveness, cost, coverage, feasibility and scalability, in order to have the greatest possible impact with available resources.
The epidemic is far from over. We have to do better. Protect yourselves and each other. The lives of black gay men matter.