Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fighting AIDS with sex - Youth and gay/bi men are bearing the burden of the epidemic

Fighting AIDS with sex · Q-Notes - Carolinas’ LGBT multimedia news source

In early August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released revised figures on the number of new U.S. HIV infections each year. The updated statistics revealed an increase of more than 16,000 cases over the agency’s previous estimate of 40,000 new infections annually — even though rates declined for injection drug users and heterosexuals.

The stunning news was met with a flurry of media coverage.

LGBT activists and AIDS service organizations (ASOs) immediately took notice of the fact that the CDC said the burden of new HIV infections is “greatest among gay and bisexual men of all races.” Of the total 56,300 new HIV infections each year, a full 53 percent of them occur in gay/bisexual men and men who have sex with men (MSM).

Youth advocacy groups also received a wake-up call. According to the report, people age 29 and under represented 34 percent of new HIV infections, the highest of any age group. The LGBT-focused National Youth Advocacy Coalition said the numbers indicate that “existing public education efforts surrounding HIV prevention must be updated to be more relevant and effective at reaching youth.”...

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