National Gay Men HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2022

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Tuesday, September 27 marks National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 2022 (#NGMHAAD). Although the number of HIV cases among gay and bisexual men has declined since 2015, this population continues to be disproportionately affected by the virus. In 2019, for example, 70% of the estimated 34,800 new HIV cases in the United States were among gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), reports the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (CDC).

Examples of Awareness Day messages and tweets are embedded throughout this article. To learn more and to find events near you, search #NGMHAAD.

Awareness Day is an opportunity to fight stigma and encourage testing, prevention and treatment for gay and bisexual men. This year is also an opportunity to raise public awareness of monkeypox and the vaccine to prevent it. As leaders of the CDC’s Division of HIV Prevention write in a blog post:

“As we celebrate the progress we have made in preventing and treating HIV among gay and bisexual men, we must also recognize the challenges we still face. Racism, poverty, stigma and homophobia are barriers to care and prevention and continue to create inequalities that make gay and bisexual men, especially Black/African American and Hispanic/Latino men , are overrepresented in the HIV epidemic.

“This NGMHAAD, we recognize the additional public health challenges and continued stigma that gay and bisexual men face. Although we are still learning about monkeypox amid the current epidemic, we are seeing similar patterns of inequality, with Hispanic/Latino and Black/African American gay and bisexual men accounting for the majority of people with monkeypox. Recently, CDC released a Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report showing that people living with HIV and with a recent history of other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) are disproportionately affected by monkeypox. This represents an important opportunity to use existing HIV and STD prevention and care models and resources to ensure equitable access to monkeypox information and services among gay and bisexual men, people living with HIV and people experiencing an increased incidence of STDs. Learn more about the CDC’s efforts to reduce stigma in monkeypox communication and community engagement.

More information about NGMHAAD is available from the team at AIDSVu.org, who create interactive maps and graphs based on HIV and PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) data. AIDSVu notes that between 2008 and 2019, black gay and bisexual men saw a 2% decrease in new HIV diagnoses, while Latino gay and bisexual men saw an 18% increase over the same period. This compares to a 34% decrease experienced by their white counterparts.

Similar racial disparities persist across the HIV care continuum, including linkage to care and viral suppression.

An important tool for preventing HIV is PrEP in the form of daily pills or long-term injections which are very effective in preventing a person from contracting the virus. However, as AIDSVu points out in an interview with Patrick Sullivan, DVM, PhD, PrEP uptake varies by region and race.

For example, AIDSVu data shows that black people accounted for 14% of PrEP users in 2021, but 42% of new HIV cases in 2020, while white people accounted for 65% of PrEP users and 25% of new cases. of HIV during the same period. (Note: this is for all users and HIV cases, not just gay and bisexual men).

“We know some, but not all, of the answers to why black people are underserved by PrEP versus the impact they have on the HIV epidemic,” Sullivan said in the interview. “Black people are more likely to live in the southern United States, where Medicaid expansion is less common and public drug assistance programs PrEP (DAP) are not common. Levels of PrEP use are higher in states that have either of these types of health coverage programs. We also know that distance to a PrEP provider makes a difference in people’s ability to easily access PrEP; people who live in rural areas may have to travel a lot to get to a place that provides PrEP care. Additionally, experienced or anticipated stigma surrounding PrEP use may discourage people from starting PrEP. Minimizing barriers, particularly in terms of co-payment requirements and convenient access to PrEP providers, is a top priority. Building capacity to offer PrEP through multiple channels, including telehealth programs, can also alleviate some of these barriers to PrEP use.

The CDC has created a fact sheet titled “HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men” which is available as a PDF full of infographics. The latest data shows that in 2019, approximately 1.2 million people were living with HIV in the United States. Of these, 754,700 were gay and bisexual men.

Finally, for details on other HIV Awareness Days, including a calendar you can download and print, visit 2022 HIV/AIDS Awareness Days.



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