20% of gay men have HIV and nearly half don’t know they’re infected

Men who have sex with men (MSM) still make up the largest percentage of new HIV infections in the U.S. Despite the grass-roots effort to educate gay and bi men since the 1980’s, the number of new infections continues to rise. A recent study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention makes the issue clear.

From the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Website…

The CDC estimates that more than one million people are living with HIV in the United States. One in five (or 21%) don’t know they’re infected. Despite increases in the total number of people living with HIV in recent years, the annual number of new HIV infections has remained relatively stable. However, that still means an estimated 56,300 new infections per year. 

 More than 18,000 people with AIDS still die each year in the US. Gay, bisexual, and other MSM are strongly affected and represent the majority of persons who have died. Gay, bisexual, and other MSM of all races remain the population most severely affected by HIV. Here are some facts you need to know:

  • MSM account for more than half (53%) of all new HIV infections in the U.S. each year, as well as nearly half (48%) of people living with HIV.
  • While CDC estimates that MSM account for just 4% of the US male population aged 13 and older, the rate of new HIV diagnoses among MSM in the US is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women.
  • White MSM account for the largest number of annual new HIV infections of any group in the US, followed closely by black MSM.
  • MSM is the only risk group in the U.S. in which new HIV infections have been increasing since the early 1990s.

What can you do?

The first thing you can do is get tested. Second, practice safer sex. I know we’re all tired of hearing this but clearly the message still needs to be broadcast loud and clear. There are any number of online resources that will help you to play safe and stay healthy. Just using a condom is only a small part of what you need to know. In addition to our own HIV Education page, you can go to any one of these links to educate yourself and to protect your health:

The Body.com education page   

About.com’s page for gay teens

To check out the CDC’s full report, you can go to the CDC’s Website.

To subsribe to the Pitt Men’s Study Health Alerts, send an email to rgy2@pitt.edu with the word subscribe in the subject line.

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