amfAR Report Examines Heavy Impact of HIV/AIDS on Black Gay Men in the United States

Joana Casas
Original Article:

NEW YORK, Feb. 6, 2015 – The nation’s inability to effectively address HIV infections among Black gay men is one of the greatest failures of the U.S. HIV/AIDS response, according to a new report released today by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. Despite their disproportionate risk, the report finds that efforts to address the HIV epidemic among Black gay men have been consistently inadequate, and immediate steps must be taken to reduce new HIV infections among this underserved population.

Black gay men represent 53 percent of all new HIV infections among Black Americans each year; they are also the only Black population in which new HIV cases have been growing since 2001. Studies show that Black gay men are at higher risk of HIV exposure not because they engage in more risk-associated behaviors, but because of the high prevalence of HIV in the Black gay community, which increases the chances of HIV transmission.

While there are biological factors that make gay men more prone to HIV than other populations, the report, titled HIV and the Black Community: Do #Black(GAY)Lives Matter?, highlights several other underlying factors contributing to the elevated rates of HIV among Black gay men. These include a history of neglect by institutions and communities; underfunding and lack of resources; and lack of access to healthcare and social support.

“We are sounding the alarm on a health crisis that has been going on for some time right here in the U.S. among Black gay men,” said Kevin Robert Frost, amfAR’s chief executive officer. “The HIV epidemic among this population has been documented for decades now, but it has never really been discussed on a national scale. We have an opportunity to change the course of the epidemic, engage in an open and vigorous dialogue, and take immediate  steps to rectify the situation before it sets us back even further in our nation’s HIV response.”   

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