July 20, 2012
The Black AIDS Institute released a new report Wednesday called "Back of the Line: The State of AIDS Among Black Gay Men in America 2012." Black men who have sex with men (MSM) "continue to be first in line when it comes to need, but remain at the back of the line when it comes to assistance," said Phill Wilson, founder and executive director of BAI. The report calls for stepped-up STD campaigns and HIV testing, prevention and treatment for this population.
Black MSM account for one in four new HIV infections, even though they represent only 1 in 500 Americans, the report says. Unless they receive treatment, these men "are significantly less likely to be alive three years after testing HIV-positive" when compared with white MSM.
Black MSM "are not simply a fringe group in the fight against HIV/AIDS," said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention. "They are, in fact, at the center of the nation's epidemic, and we cannot achieve an AIDS-free generation, or the end of AIDS in the United States, unless we make major inroads in the fight against HIV among black gay men."
According to Ernest Hopkins, chair of the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation's director of legislative affairs, black MSM "are no more likely to engage in HIV-related risk behaviors than other MSM." However, they are associated with risk factors such as early sexual experience, older sex partners, being molested as a child, being incarcerated, growing up in poverty, homelessness and suffering discrimination, he said.
[PNU editor's note: To access BAI's report, visit: www.blackaids.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=1284&Itemid=198.]