Thursday, December 05, 2013

NYT Spotlights HIV Crisis Among Young Black and Latino Men Under 25

Well, this is a surprise! Today the New York Times has a front page, above the fold (most prominent placement), story entitled "Poor Black and Hispanic Men Are the Face of H.I.V." by Donald G. McNeil Jr. The key point is that 25 percent of new infections are in men who are either Black or Latino.

Here's an excerpt:

Nationally, 25 percent of new infections are in black and Hispanic men, and in New York City it is 45 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the city’s health department. 
Nationally, when only men under 25 infected through gay sex are counted, 80 percent are black or Hispanic — even though they engage in less high-risk behavior than their white peers. 
The prospects for change look grim. Critics say little is being done to save this group, and none of it with any great urgency. 
“There wasn’t even an ad campaign aimed at young black men until last year — what’s that about?” said Krishna Stone, a spokeswoman for GMHC, which was founded in the 1980s as the Gay Men’s Health Crisis. 
Phill Wilson, president of the Black AIDS Institute in Los Angeles, said there were “no models out there right now for reaching these men.” 
According to a major C.D.C.-led study, a male-male sex act for a young black American is eight times as likely to end in H.I.V. infection as it is for his white peers. 
That is true even though, on average, black youths in the study took fewer risks than their white peers: they had fewer partners, engaged in fewer acts of sex while drunk or high, and used condoms more often. 
They had other risk factors. Lacking health insurance, they were less likely to have seen doctors regularly and more likely to have syphilis, which creates a path for H.I.V. 
But the crucial factor was that more of their partners were older black men, who are much more likely to have untreated H.I.V. than older white men.

The fact that the HIV epidemic is becoming browner and younger has been known by HIV activists for quite awhile but it is useful that the mainstream media is starting to pay attention and send the message to the wider population.

I'm somewhat surprised that my friend Phill Wilson is quoted saying there are "no models" for reaching young Black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM), when he runs the Black AIDS Institute which is a national organization focused on creating, studying and promulgating such models.

In Los Angeles, In The Meantime Men is an organization which focuses on HIV prevention in young Black men and Bienestar focuses on HIV prevention and treatment in the Latino community.

I think what Phill meant to say was that there are no widely adopted or generally accepted models for reaching the communities the article is focused on.

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