Six things you need to know for National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

From thebody.com

National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, observed every year on February 7, is a good time to remind the general public of the racial disparities in HIV infection that persist in the United States. Year after year, African-Americans continue to shoulder the heaviest burden of HIV.

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

Greg Millett (Credit: amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research)

“If you don’t have access to healthcare and you’re HIV-positive, you’re less likely to be on medication or virally suppressed, and therefore more likely to transmit HIV,” said amfAR vice president and director of public policy Greg Millett. “We also have to do a better job of reducing HIV stigma because it keeps people from being tested for HIV, and it keeps people who are HIV-positive from seeking care because they’re afraid they’ll be discriminated against. And that is what continues to fuel the epidemic.”

According to Millett, to effectively address the racial disparities in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the U.S., we need to continue raising awareness about how HIV disproportionately affects the black community, urge our policymakers to prioritize HIV prevention and treatment resources to the hardest hit communities, such as black gay men, and improve care for HIV-positive black women and injecting drug users.

Discrimination, stigma, poverty, and lack of access to healthcare contribute to the disproportionate burden of HIV among black Americans. This is most notably the case in regions with large black populations like the American South where approximately half of the nation’s new HIV infections occur, with black Americans accounting for nearly 80 percent of them. In general, African-Americans are less likely than whites to have private health insurance.

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LGBTs would be disproportionately affected by the repeal of the ACA

Matt Baume writes in the Huffington Post:

If the ACA is repealed, as Republicans are trying to do, not only would 32 million people lose health care, according to the Congressional Budget Office, but LGBTs would be disproportionately affected. And “disproportionately affected” is a phrase which here means “get sick and die.” For example, HIV treatment can cost thousands of dollars per month. Insurance companies that don’t want to pay for that treatment could just refuse to cover all gay people on the basis that gay men are more likely to be HIV positive. Or they could raise monthly premiums just for gays. Or they could create a lifetime cap, so you pay into their system and then as soon as you need expensive treatment, they drop you. All this was legal until the ACA banned it.

Gay men headed for an STD epidemic?

From Slate.com

Earlier this month, Poz magazine’s Benjamin Ryan drew attention to a concerning new study out of Northern California’s health system: Using data gathered from July 2012 through June 2015, researchers found that, among a cohort consisting mostly of same-sex–attracted men on the HIV-prevention regimen PrEP, “quarterly rates of rectal gonorrhea and urethral chlamydia increased steadily and about doubled after one year.” In other words, guys on the fantastically effective pill-a-day Truvada program were avoiding HIV infection—there were no new transmissions for regimen-adherent patients over the study period, in fact—but they seemed to be getting other sexually transmitted diseases relatively often.

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