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HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
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HIV Among African-American Gay and Bisexual Men

February 7, 2017

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Fast Facts
  • African Americangay and bisexual men account for more US HIV diagnoses than any other group.
  • After steep increases, HIV diagnoses among these men have leveled off in recent years.
  • Though HIV rates are high among African American gay and bisexual men, there are more tools than ever before to prevent HIV.

In the United States, black/African American1 gay and bisexual men2 are more affected by HIV than any other group of Americans. Though the number of new diagnoses declined for African Americans as a whole in recent years, diagnoses among African American gay and bisexual men increased between 2005 and 2014. However, that upward trend has stabilized since 2010.


The Numbers


HIV and AIDS Diagnoses3

  • Among all gay and bisexual men who received an HIV diagnosis in the United States in 2015,4 African Americans accounted for the highest number (10,315; 39%), followed by whites (7,570; 29%) and Hispanics/Latinos5 (7,013; 27%).6
  • In 2015, 38% (3,888) of African American gay and bisexual men who received an HIV diagnosis were aged 13-24. Thirty-seven percent (3,843) were aged 25-34; 13% (1,305) were aged 35-44; 8% (872) were aged 45-54; and 4% (405) were aged 55 or older.
  • While the number of HIV diagnoses declined for African Americans as a whole from 2005 to 2014, diagnoses among African American gay and bisexual men increased 22% in that period. But diagnoses stabilized in recent years, increasing less than 1% between 2010 and 2014.
  • From 2005 to 2014, HIV diagnoses among African American gay and bisexual men aged 13 to 24 increased 87%. But that trend has leveled off, with diagnoses declining 2% between 2010 and 2014.
  • Among all gay and bisexual men with HIV infection classified as AIDS in the United States in 2015, African Americans accounted for the highest number (3,928; 39%), followed by whites (3,096; 31%) and Hispanics/Latinos (2,430; 24%).


Living With HIV

At the end of 2014, 508,676 gay and bisexual men were living with diagnosed HIV infection (53% of everyone living with diagnosed HIV in the US). Of gay and bisexual men living with diagnosed HIV, 157,758 (31%) were African American, 212,558 (42%) were white, and 109,857 (22%) were Hispanic/Latino.


HIV Diagnoses Among Men Who Have Sex With Men, by Race/Ethnicity and Age at Diagnosis, 2015 -- United States

HIV Diagnoses Among Men Who Have Sex With Men, by Race/Ethnicity and Age at Diagnosis, 2015 -- United States

Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2015. HIV Surveillance Report 2016;27.


Prevention Challenges

photo of two men in a restaurantIn addition to risk factors affecting all gay and bisexual men (a larger percentage of men with HIV in sexual networks; a significant proportion of the population engaging in receptive anal sex, or "bottoming," which is the riskiest sexual behavior for getting HIV; more sex partners compared to other men), several factors are specific to African American gay and bisexual men. These include:

  • Socioeconomic factors. For example, having limited access to quality health care, lower income and educational levels, and higher rates of unemployment and incarceration may place some African American gay and bisexual men at higher risk for HIV than men of some other races/ethnicities.
  • Smaller and more exclusive sexual networks. African American gay and bisexual men are a small subset of all gay and bisexual men, and their partners tend to be of the same race. Because of the small population size and the higher prevalence of HIV in that population relative to other races/ethnicities, African American gay and bisexual men are at greater risk of being exposed to HIV within their sexual networks.
  • Lack of awareness of HIV status. Among African American gay and bisexual men who have HIV, a lower percentage know their HIV status compared to HIV-positive gay and bisexual men of some other races/ethnicities (based on data from 22 US cities).7 People who do not know they have HIV cannot take advantage of HIV care and treatment and may unknowingly pass HIV to others.

Stigma, homophobia, and discrimination put gay and bisexual men of all races/ethnicities at risk for multiple physical and mental health problems and may affect whether they seek and are able to receive high-quality health services, including HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services.


What CDC Is Doing

CDC funds state and local health departments and community-based organizations (CBOs) to deliver effective HIV prevention services for African American gay and bisexual men. Some of CDC's activities include:

  • Comprehensive HIV Prevention Programs for Health Departments, an HIV prevention initiative for health departments in states, territories, and select cities, including those serving African American gay and bisexual men. Starting in 2012, CDC has awarded at least $330 million each year ($343.7 million in 2015) under this funding opportunity.
  • Two new projects to help health departments reduce HIV infections and improve HIV medical care among gay and bisexual men of color. These funding opportunity announcements (FOAs) will increase gay and bisexual men's access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), increase health departments' surveillance capacity, and support effective models of prevention and care for gay and bisexual men of color.
  • The Capacity Building Assistance for High-Impact HIV Prevention, a national program that provides training and technical assistance for health departments, CBOs, and health care organizations to help them better address gaps in the HIV continuum of care and provide high-impact prevention for people at high risk for HIV.
  • Awarding $11 million per year for 5 years, beginning in 2011, to 34 CBOs to provide HIV testing to more than 90,000 young gay and bisexual men of color, with the goals of identifying more than 3,500 previously unrecognized HIV infections and linking those who have HIV to care and prevention services. A new funding opportunity focusing on this population will begin in 2017 and continue for 5 years, depending on the availability of funds.

Through its Act Against AIDS campaigns and partnerships, CDC provides African American gay and bisexual men with effective and culturally appropriate messages about HIV prevention and treatment. For example,

  • Start Talking. Stop HIV. helps gay and bisexual men communicate about safer sex, testing, and other HIV prevention issues.
  • Doing It, a national HIV testing and prevention campaign, encourages all adults to know their HIV status and protect themselves and their community by making HIV testing a part of their regular health routine.
  • HIV Treatment Works shows how people living with HIV have overcome barriers to stay in care and provides resources on how to live well with HIV.
  • Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) to Act Against AIDS, a 5-year partnership with organizations such as the National Black Justice Coalition and the Black Men's Xchange, is raising awareness about testing, prevention, and retention in care among populations disproportionately affected by HIV, including African American gay and bisexual men.

To learn more about health issues affecting gay and bisexual men, visit the CDC Gay and Bisexual Men's Health site.


Footnotes

  1. Referred to as African American in this fact sheet.
  2. The term male-to-male sexual contact is used in CDC surveillance systems. It indicates a behavior that transmits HIV infection, not how individuals self-identify in terms of their sexuality.
  3. HIV and AIDS diagnoses indicate when a person is diagnosed with HIV infection or AIDS, not when the person was infected.
  4. Data for the year 2015 are preliminary (subject to change) because they are based on only a 6-month reporting delay.
  5. Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.
  6. The numbers reported in this fact sheet include infections attributed to male-to-male sexual contact only, not those attributed to male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use.
  7. Though African American gay and bisexual men report higher HIV testing in the past year than Hispanic/Latino or white gay and bisexual men, they also have a higher prevalence of HIV. That means a greater proportion of those who have not been tested recently are HIV-positive.
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Related Stories

HIV Among Gay and Bisexual Men
TheBody.com's HIV/AIDS Resource Center for African Americans
HIV and Me: An African American's Guide to Living With HIV
More HIV Statistics on the African-American Community


This article was provided by U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Visit the CDC's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.


 

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