December 1, 2016
By Jerome R. Hunt, Ph.D. – Safe Space, Inc. Board Member
On this 28th annual World AIDS day, we here at Safe Space pause to honor and remember all of those who have been lost to HIV/AIDS. In addition, we take this opportunity to educate ourselves about HIV/AIDS and how to prevent it. While much has been done to combat the HIV/AIDS epidemic and help those who are living with HIV to live long healthy lives, over 36 million people globally are living with HIV—1.2 million in the United States. In particular, gay and bisexual men of color are the population that is most impacted by HIV.
According to data from aids.gov:
- Gay and bisexual men accounted for 82% (26,375) of HIV diagnoses among males and 67% of all diagnoses.
- Black/African American gay and bisexual men accounted for the largest number of HIV diagnoses (10,315), followed by white gay and bisexual men (7,570).
Among all gay and bisexual men, trends have varied by race and over time. From 2005 to 2014:
- Among white gay and bisexual men, diagnoses dropped steadily, declining 18% overall.
- Among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, diagnoses rose by 24%.
- Although diagnoses among African American gay and bisexual men increased 22%, they have leveled off in the past 5 years, increasing less than 1% since 2010.
- Young African American gay and bisexual men (aged 13 to 24) experienced an 87% increase in diagnoses. But since 2010, diagnoses have declined 2%.
However, gay and bisexual men are not the only population to be negatively affected by HIV/AIDS, transgender individuals are also impacted. Although, it is hard to uniformly collect data about this population, we do know some key facts:
- In 2013, a meta-analysis (Baral et al.) reported that the estimated HIV prevalence among transgender women was 22% in five high-income countries, including the United States.
- Although HIV prevalence among transgender men is relatively low (0-3%), a 2001 study (Rowniak et al.) suggests that transgender men who have sex with men are at a substantial risk for acquiring HIV.
- Among the 3.3 million HIV testing events reported to the CDC in 2013, the highest percentages of newly identified HIV-Positive persons were among transgender persons.
- Black/African American transgender women are more likely to have HIV than transgender women of other races.
Although, the increase in diagnoses for the above mentioned populations may be startling, the power to prevent HIV/AIDS is possible. Outside of the prevention methods we already know, Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis or PrEP, was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 2012. PrEP is a once a day pill regiment than can help prevent HIV infection.
Safe Space hopes that on this World AIDS day that this snapshot about HIV/AIDS and the LGBT community will serve as a resource for everyone. Together we can stop the spread of HIV/AIDS.
For more information about HIV/AIDS, please visit: http://www.aids.gov
For more information about PrEP, please visit: http://www.hrc.org/resources/is-prep-right-for-me
To find a location near you to get tested, please visit: http://gettested.cdc.gov
 An HIV testing event is one or more HIV tests performed with a person to determine that person’s HIV status. During one testing event, a person may be tested once or multiple times.