The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently announced the release of a new report, which found that one in five gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in 21 major U.S. cities is HIV-positive. According to data from the 2008 “HIV Surveillance Report: Diagnoses of HIV infection and AIDS in the United States and Dependent Areas,” these men continue to be the segment of the U.S. population most severely affected by HIV. In the study, which tested 8,153 men, forty-four percent of HIV-positive men were not aware of their status. According to a statement by the CDC, the majority of new sexually transmitted infections are transmitted by individuals who are unaware of their HIV status, making testing a critical component of HIV prevention work.
The study identified strong links between HIV rates and race, ethnicity, and socioeconomic status. The report identified young gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men, particularly those of color, as least likely on average to know their HIV status. "It is critical that we reach these young men early in their lives with HIV prevention and testing services and continue to make these vital services available as they become older," said Jonathan Mermin, M.D., director of the CDC's Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention.
In conjunction with this report, the CDC has announced two valuable new resources that are now available online. The fact sheet “HIV and AIDS among Gay and Bisexual Men,” has been updated to include a summary of the findings from the new study as well as protection recommendations. The CDC has also launched a new health resource website, Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health, which includes information and recommendations on a variety of health topics, including HIV.