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No Turning Back

Addressing the HIV Crisis Among Men Who Have Sex with Men

November 2001

Signs of a Resurgent Epidemic

Recent data on rates of HIV, STD, and risk behaviors indicate that HIV infections among MSM are at risk of increasing:

Quote by Terje Anderson, Executive Director, National Association of People with AIDS
  • The proportion of gonorrhea cases occurring among gay men increased three-fold, from 4.5 percent in 1992 to 13.2 percent in 1999, in a 29-city study of STD clinics. Gonorrhea can increase the chance of contracting or spreading HIV by as much as two to five times.(14)

  • From January to July 2000, 66 cases of syphilis were reported among MSM in southern California, compared to 26 cases during the same time period in 1999, a 150 percent increase.(15)
    Similar syphilis outbreaks among MSM have been reported in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, and Seattle.(13)

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  • STD outbreaks in several major cities across the U.S. have shown that 25 to 73 percent of MSM with syphilis and 25 to 54 percent of MSM with gonorrhea are co-infected with HIV.(16)

  • In a 12-city study, 19 percent of HIV-positive MSM engaged in unprotected anal sex between 1996 and 1998, compared to 13 percent between 1995 and 1996.(17)

  • Health officials from San Francisco estimate that annual HIV incidence among MSM increased from 1.04 percent in 1997 to a projected 2.2 percent in 2001.(18)

  • In CDC's Young Men's Survey, the 4.4 percent infection rate among 23- to 29-year-old MSM in the Young Men's Survey is higher than any other recent U.S. incidence studies, and comparable to levels seen in studies of MSM in the mid-1980s.(12)

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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.