In the Shadows of Stigma: National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Published: September 25, 2013

This Friday is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. As education and funding has improved in the U.S. over the past decade, HIV/AIDS (an immune deficiency) is now thought of by so many as a disease primarily affecting people in Sub-Saharan Africa, but we often overlook the cases of HIV/AIDS that still exist in the United States. In the U.S., more than 1.1 million people live with the HIV infection and approximately 18.1% are unaware that they even have HIV. The vast majority of those infected are gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly black/African American men between the ages of 13 and 24.

Due in part to the stigma associated with the infection, HIV/AIDS in the United States is truly a hidden epidemic. While medicine has advanced tremendously, extending the lives and increasing the wellbeing of HIV-positive people, there remains no cure and 50,000 new infections occur each year, 63% of them among MSM. The National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day draws attention to these facts so that HIV-positive men do not feel marginalized and subsequently, discriminated against.
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