National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day Celebration
Today is the National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and testing and prevention, an approach promoted in a study showing 1 in 5 gay men have HIV and nearly half of them are unaware, are the things that will be very much stressed. Still, there seems to be some sort of a complacency attitude towards the issue and it comes especially from gay or bisexual men.
Moreover, the number of people who know things about HIV and AIDS has significantly declined in the U.S. from percent 70 in 2004 to 45 percent in 2009, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Plus, the number of those who think that HIV and AIDS are problems which must be urgently solved has “dropped precipitously” between 2006 and 2009, from 17 percent to just 6 percent, the foundation reported. The number had been as high as 44 percent in 1995. Furthermore, the number of people aged 18-29 who said they were concerned about contracting HIV has dropped from 30 percent in 1997 and 2000 to 17 percent today.
HIV is growing in the population largely associated with AIDS when the disease first captured the public’s attention in the early to mid-1980s. “The rate of new HIV infection in the U.S. is increasing among only one risk group: gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men,” said Jonathan Mermin, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. Plus, the CDC says that low awareness of HIV infections among gay and bisexual men in 21 cities of the United States shows that there must be more access to better HIV testing and prevention programs. “HIV exacts a devastating toll [on gay men] … and yet far too many of those who are infected don’t know it,” said Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC‘s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.
The study shows some alarming numbers in matters of HIV infections. From the 8,100 subjects which were tested for the study, black and Hispanic young gay men are more likely to be unaware of the infection and 45 percent of HIV-infected gay men who were unaware of their infection had been tested in the past year. “For young [gay] men of color, discrimination and socioeconomic factors — such as poverty, homophobia, stigma, and limited health-care access — may be especially acute and pose particular challenges,” the study found.
Moreover, some people even think that advances in treating HIV reduce the risks, the study’s authors said. Many people with HIV are living longer, most notably former NBA star Earvin “Magic” Johnson, who was diagnosed in 1991. The White House’s HIV/AIDS strategy states “the United States cannot reduce the number of HIV infections nationally without better addressing HIV among gay and bisexual men.”
To get to the point in which every men is aware about HIV and AIDS, the CDC has recently created a website on gay and bisexual men’s health, because, according to the CDC, there were 35,962 new AIDS cases in 2007, with deaths totaling 11,295, or 3.7 deaths per 100,000 population. America “must re-energize” the fight, Fenton said.
“Although it has been nearly 30 years since the first reported cases of HIV among gay and bisexual men, HIV remains a crisis that is far from over in this community,” he said.11