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Rates of New HIV Infection Surging in Young Gay Men

Summer 2001

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!

In the June 1 special issue of the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, a new study documented a dramatic rise in new infections in young gay men ages 15 to 22, and especially in young gay black men.


HIV in Seven Major U.S. Cities
Both New and Overall Infection Rates Among Gay Men Aged 15 to 22 Rose from the Mid to Late 1990s
 New Infections*Overall Infections**
Race/Ethnicity1994-981998-001994-981998-00
Black4.0%14.7%14.1%30%
Hispanic1.8%3.5%6.9%15%
White2.4%2.5%3.3%7.0%
Cities surveyed: Baltimore, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami, New York, San Francisco, Seattle.

*Annual percentage of new HIV infections.

** Overall percentage infected with HIV regardless of when they became infected.

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Source: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


Key Points of the Study

  • Approximately one in seven young gay black men (15%) are newly infected each year.

  • The rate of new infections for all urban young gay men is as high now as it was at the peak in the mid 1980s.

  • About 4.4% of all young gay and bisexual men are newly infected with HIV every year.

  • There has also been a rise in other STDs in this same group.

"Now we are seeing these extremely high overall rates and really frightening rates among blacks -- numbers similar to those we saw in the beginning of the epidemic, during some of the peak years," commented Dr. Helene Gayle, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD, and TB Prevention. But she also cautioned that the sample size was small and may not be representative of all gay men. Despite this, when combined with other data it points to a clear trend of increasing new infections.

In another CDC study published in March 2001, almost half of young urban gay men reported having unprotected anal sex during the preceding month.

The CDC strategic plan, released in January 2001 this year, largely targets Americans who are infected but do not know it. "Those who are unaware of their status -- and consequently not receiving prevention and care services -- are contributing significantly to the spread of new HIV infections," stated Dr. Gayle. "Our program will encourage all Americans who engage in high-risk behaviors -- primarily unprotected sex with a partner whose HIV status is not known to them and IV drug use -- to get tested now."


Back to The Nexus Summer 2001 contents page.

A note from TheBody.com: Since this article was written, the HIV pandemic has changed, as has our understanding of HIV/AIDS and its treatment. As a result, parts of this article may be outdated. Please keep this in mind, and be sure to visit other parts of our site for more recent information!



  
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This article was provided by American Academy of HIV Medicine. It is a part of the publication The Nexus.
 
See Also
HIV/AIDS Surveillance in Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM)
More Statistics on Gay Men and HIV/AIDS in the U.S.

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