This Sunday marks the 25th anniversary of World AIDS Day, and some thirty years into the AIDS pandemic, people are still hoping to raise awareness about the disease and encourage people to fight prejudice and encourage AIDS education.
Despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention showing a stabilization in new HIV infections in the U.S. since the mid 1990s, new infections still continue.
A recent report in The New York Times cited a rise in unprotected sex by gay men as making it more difficult to fight the disease. One reason why people in this group might be having more unprotected sex is because people now perceive HIV/AIDS as a chronic condition that people can live with.
African Americans are still overrepresented in the population of the newly infected.
“In the United States, efforts to curb the HIV epidemic through testing, prevention, and treatment are bolstered by newer biomedical options. CDC works to promote these efforts in the communities most at risk; however, the overall infection rate is still too high, especially for some groups. Of the 47,500 people newly infected in 2010, for example,
– 63% were men who have sex with men (MSM), who make up only 2% of the population.
– 44% were African Americans, who make up only 14% of the population.
To bring these numbers down, CDC is expanding HIV prevention services for young gay and bisexual men of color, transgender youth of color, and their partners. In 2011, for example, CDC awarded $55 million over 5 years to 34 community-based organizations with strong links to these populations. This funding is being used to provide HIV testing to more than 90,000 young gay and bisexual men and transgender youth of color, with a goal of identifying more than 3,500 previously unrecognized HIV infections and linking those who are HIV infected to care and prevention services. Additionally, CDC’s MSM Testing Initiative seeks to identify at least 3,000 MSM with HIV who were previously unaware of their infection and link at least 85% of them to care.”
If you would like to learn your HIV status on this World AIDS Day, check out this link for testing site locations.