Saturday, July 21, 2012

REPORT: AIDS is Devastating U.S. Black Gay Men

A new report from the Black AIDS Institute titled "Back of the Line: The State of AIDS among Black Gay Men in America 2012" documents the devastating impact that AIDS has had, and continues to have, on Black gay men in the United States.

From the Executive Summary:
Accounting for one in 500 people living in the U.S., Black MSM make up nearly one in four new HIV infections and one in six Americans living with HIV. Black MSM represent 9% of all MSM in the U.S., but account for 38% of new infections among MSM. In New York City, Black MSM are 325 times more likely to be diagnosed with HIV than heterosexual Black males. Nationally, HIV prevalence among Black MSM is roughly double the prevalence among white MSM. Although AIDS is a nationwide crisis for Black MSM, evidence indicates that the problem is especially severe in the South, where new cases are rising most rapidly. 
HIV represents a lifetime challenge for Black MSM. Among young men ages 13-24, Black MSM are 14 times more likely to test HIV-positive than white MSM. One in four Black MSM are already infected with HIV by the time they reach age 25. By age 40, 60% of Black MSM are living with HIV.
What's nice about the report that in addition to documenting the problem, it also provides suggestions for addressing the issue, calling for a series of recommendations:
  1. Demonstrate leadership in the fight against AIDS for Black MSM
  2. Achieve saturation HIV testing among Black MSM
  3. Maximize the preventive and therapeutic benefits of antiretroviral therapy
  4. Dramatically reduce STDs among Black MSM
  5. Introduce pre-exposure prophylaxis
  6. Effectively target Black MSM with high-impact prevention
  7. Build sustainable community capacity
  8. Develop new prevention tools for Black MSM
  9. Implement a national plan to reduce the vulnerability of Black MSM
The report summarizes these recommendations into three priority steps that should be taken immediately:
Develop a national plan to end AIDS among Black MSM. As one of its highest priorities, Health and Human Services should immediately spearhead an inclusive process—involving relevant federal agencies (e.g., CDC, HRSA, CMS, Office of Minority Health, SAMHSA), Black MSM, Black and LGBT leaders, the philanthropic and private sectors, and state and local health departments—to develop a clear, results-driven national plan to end the epidemic among Black MSM

Exert genuine, sustained leadership in the fight against AIDS among Black MSM. Diverse non-governmental actors must recognize both that AIDS remains a severe and worsening crisis among Black MSM and that government alone cannot turn the tide against AIDS

Combat homophobia and other social challenges faced by Black MSM. Governmental and non-governmental actors must join together with Black MSM to address the root causes of Black MSM’s vulnerability to HIV and the factors that diminish health care access.
The 19th International AIDS Conference begins in Washington, D.C. on Sunday. Although President Obama will not be attending the event in person, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will. Let's hope she has something to say which addresses these issues. Additionally, the Obama Administration just recently announced that it is releasing $80 million in federal funds which will effectively eradicate all waiting lists on state AIDS Drug Assistance Programs (ADAP), allowing access to life-saving anti-retroviral medication to everyone in the United States who needs it.

Things are looking up...

Hat/tip to Rod 2.0

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