Friday, August 05, 2011

GMHC Advocates for Increased HIV Prevention Programs Targeting Young Gay Men

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Today, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released its estimates of HIV incidence in the United States for the years 2006-2009. These estimates markedly showed there was an estimated 21% increase in HIV incidence for people aged 13-29 years, driven by a 34% increase in young men who have sex with men (MSM)--the only group to experience a significant increase in incidence in this age range. Among MSM aged 13-29, HIV incidence among black/African American MSM increased significantly (48%) from 2006 through 2009 with a 12.2% estimated annual percentage increase.  
  
"Young gay men, especially those who are black, continue to face a serious uphill battle in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Marjorie J. Hill Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of GMHC.  "We must develop more targeted and empowering HIV prevention messages, tailored to these already-disenfranchised  individuals." 

Other significant findings in the CDC report included:
  • MSM represent approximately 2% of the US population, but accounted for 61% of new HIV infections in 2009.
  • Blacks/African Americans represent approximately 14% of the US population, but accounted for 44% of new HIV infections in 2009.
  • Hispanics/Latinos represent 16% of the US population, but accounted for 20% in 2009.
GMHC continues to develop HIV prevention approaches that:

  • Address public health issues that contribute to people's heightened vulnerability to HIV infection such as stigma, homophobia, poverty, racism and sexism;
  • Promote family support which strengthens the resiliency within women, men and youth to better negotiate safer sex practices;
  • Support gay-affirming interventions and activities in schools, such as gay-straight alliances and anti-bullying curricula;
  • Advocate for age-appropriate sex education programs that are implemented and evaluated in schools;
  • Offer more HIV testing in traditional sites such as churches and street fairs;
  • Provide social marketing messages that address the hardest-hit populations; and
  • Include partnerships with community- based organizations that reach groups most at-risk such as churches, schools, and youth organizations.
  "We advocate for a substantial increase in resources for  targeted HIV prevention programs, added Hill.  "To be young, gay and particularly black should not automatically come with an HIV diagnosis."  

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