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HIV by the numbers

compiled by Q-Notes staff
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 2005 studies (some of the most recent available) found that more than two-thirds (68 percent) of all men living with HIV were men who have sex with men (MSM), “even though only about five percent to seven percent of men in the United States reported having sex with other men.”

The CDC says that “HIV/AIDS continues to take a high toll on the MSM population. For example, the number of new HIV/AIDS cases among MSM in 2005 was 11 percent more than the number of cases in 2001. It is unclear whether this increase is due to more testing, which results in more diagnoses, or to an increase in the number of HIV infections. Whatever the reasons, in 2005, MSM still accounted for about 53 percent of all new HIV/AIDS cases and 71 percent of cases in male adults and adolescents.”

The CDC also reports that “since the beginning of the epidemic, an estimated 517,992 MSM … had received a diagnosis of AIDS, accounting for 68 percent of male adults and adolescents who received a diagnosis of AIDS and 54 percent of all people who received a diagnosis of AIDS.”

Risks also remain high for those MSM living in urban areas and for youth. The CDC found that 25 percent of those MSM surveyed in five large U.S. cities were infected with HIV. Forty-eight percent of those were unaware of their infections.

Even more unsettling, the study revealed that 46 percent of African-American MSM were HIV-positive.

Among young MSM, the CDC found that 77 percent of those who tested positive believed they were not infected. For African-American MSM youth, the figure was even higher.

The CDC also warns that after more than a quarter century of dealing with the HIV/AIDS epidemic, evidence points to “an underestimation of risk, of difficulty in maintaining safer-sex practices, and of a need to sustain prevention efforts for all gay and bisexual men.”


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