March 8, 2013
The number of US HIV-infected men who have sex with men (MSM) who are aware of their HIV infection increased from 2008 to 2011, while the proportion of US HIV-infected men remained approximately the same, according to data collected for CDC's National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System (NHBS). CDC Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention's Cyprian Wejnert, PhD, suggested the change in HIV awareness may be attributed to efforts to increase HIV testing and reduce HIV stigma.
To reach their conclusions, CDC epidemiologists reviewed NHBS data collected from 20 cities: 19 percent of 7,847 MSM tested in 2008 was HIV positive, and 18 percent of the 8,423 men tested in 2011 was HIV positive. In 2008, only 56 percent of those tested was aware they had HIV, compared to 66 percent of those tested in 2011. Awareness increased most among MSM under age 25 (49 percent in 2011 compared to 31 percent in 2008). MSMs ages 40 and older had the least change in awareness (69 percent in 2008 compared to 76 percent in 2011). HIV prevalence continued to be highest among US blacks, who also reported less awareness of their HIV infections.
Wejnert stated that people who are not aware they have HIV transmit more than half of new HIV infections.
An abstract of report #90, "HIV Prevalence and Awareness of Infection in 2008 and 2011 Among Men Who Have Sex with Men: 20 US Cities," was published online by the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections at www.retroconference.org/2013b/Abstracts/45701.htm.