Thursday, February 19, 2015

HIV Infection Among Young Black Gay and Bisexual Men


“Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to bear the greatest burden of HIV infection in the United States.1 In fact, HIV is on the rise among all MSM, regardless of race or age, with the incidence of new infections increasing 12% annually between 2008 and 2010.2 Among MSM, however, youth and race converge to define a public health disaster of staggering proportions, with the greatest number of new HIV infections occurring among young black gay and bisexual men ages 13 to 24.2 In 2010, young black MSM accounted for 45% of new HIV infections among all black MSM and 55% of new HIV infections among young MSM overall.

The disproportionate impact of HIV on African Americans has been evident from the early days of the AIDS epidemic, with 261,000 deaths reported among blacks through 2010—a staggering 41% of total AIDS deaths—despite the fact that blacks account for only 12% of the U.S. population.3-5 Currently, the rate of new HIV infections among blacks in the U.S. is 8 times that of whites, with MSM accounting for most new infections among African Americans.”

Wait for it. . . It’s not just their risky behavior. . . Not just the higher rate of STDs among black men. . . Not just ignorance about the disease . . . Ready?  Stigma (aka other people’s fault) and lack of insurance.

Medical shortcuts and acronyms are fascinating.  Black Men Who Have Sex with Men Only (BMSMO) and  Black Men Who Have Sex with Men and Women (BMSMW). Explains how some women become infected with HIV. They seem to be victims of some bad choices.

“BMSMW, in comparison to BMSMO, were significantly older, less educated, had lower incomes, were more likely to be unemployed, less stably housed, and more likely to have been incarcerated prior to enrollment. BMSMW were also more likely to use some drugs and had higher internalized homophobia scores, lower social support and higher frequencies of depression symptoms.”  Journal of Urban Health, 2013. DOI:10.1007/s11524‐013‐9811‐1

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