National Gay Men’s HIV / AIDS Awareness Day: Important Message

Cross-posted of National Center for the Prevention of HIV / AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis

September 23, 2021

Dear Colleague,

September 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV / AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). Each year on this day, we draw attention to the continuing and disproportionate impact of HIV on gay men, bisexuals and other men who have sex with men in the United States. As we continue to work together during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, we are strengthening our commitment to end the HIV epidemic by expanding HIV testing, prevention and treatment, and reducing HIV stigma. . To be successful, we will need to redouble our efforts to support gay and bisexual men, who bear the greatest burden of new HIV infections.

Data from 2019 shows that of the 36,801 new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent regions, 69% (25,552) were among gay and bisexual men; in the same year, about 15% of gay and bisexual men living with HIV did not know their status. Men who know their HIV status, positive or negative, can take steps to stay healthy. If their test is negative, they can be referred to prevention services, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). If they test positive, they can be referred to care and start treatment to stay healthy and prevent transmission to their sexual partners. This “status neutral” approach facilitates the integration of prevention and treatment services so that both become part of the fabric of comprehensive primary care and meet the needs of the whole person while reducing HIV-related stigma.

The disruption of traditional HIV testing services over the past 19 months has made self-testing a great option for some people to get tested for HIV, know their status, and benefit from prevention and treatment tools. today. In March 2020, a public-private partnership was launched in the United States to provide self-tests for HIV to people seeking testing, with marketing focused on gay and bisexual men. According to a recent Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the program did reach men who had not been tested recently. Most program participants said they had never been tested (36%) or had been last tested more than a year earlier (56%) before receiving their kit. self test. In addition, over 10% of men who requested self-test kits also reported having access to additional prevention services. Increased and regular HIV testing of gay and bisexual men will help end the HIV epidemic in this country.

This project preceded a CDC-supported national self-test demonstration project called Together: Take me home, which started in the spring of 2020 and is continuing. The project is promoted through Let’s Stop HIV Together, a campaign that empowers communities, partners and healthcare providers to reduce stigma and promote HIV testing, treatment and prevention. The Together: Take Me Home Self-Test Program encourages gay and bisexual men in the United States to order up to two free HIV self-tests that can be delivered to their homes. On this National Gay Men’s HIV / AIDS Awareness Day, the CDC encourages everyone to promote the self-test program and share the social media content of the Together digital toolbox and its Start talking Facebook and Instagram channels. The Together campaign supports national action Ending the HIV epidemic in the United States (EHE), which aims to reduce new HIV infections in the United States by 90% by 2030 by scaling up key HIV prevention and treatment strategies.

As partners in HIV prevention, we each play a vital role in ending HIV in this country. Our commitment and ongoing work can reduce stigma, ensure health equity, and raise awareness about HIV testing, prevention and treatment. together we can make a difference.

Truly,

/ Demetre Daskalakis /
Demetre Daskalakis, MD, MPH
Director, Division of HIV / AIDS Prevention
National Center for the Prevention of HIV / AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis
Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/hiv

/ Jonathan Mermin /
Jonathan H. Mermin, MD, MPH
Rear Admiral and Deputy Surgeon General, USPHS
Director
National Center for the Prevention of HIV / AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STDs and Tuberculosis
Centers for Disaster Control and Prevention
www.cdc.gov/nchhstp



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