In May 2016, as part of the Emory Coalition for Applied Modeling for Prevention (CAMP), researchers at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Division of STD Prevention (DSTDP) and Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention (DHAP) published methods to estimate the number of men who have sex with men (MSM) in U.S. states, metropolitan statistical areas (MSAs), and counties in JMIR Public Health & Surveillance. The paper presented county-level MSM population estimates for the first time.
As a follow-up to the MSM estimation work, Emory CAMP researchers Eli Rosenberg, PhD, Jeremy Grey, PhD, Travis Sanchez, DVM MPH, and Patrick Sullivan, PhD DVM, used the newly established 2012 and 2013 MSM denominators to compare with AIDSVu data on new (2013) and existing (2012) HIV diagnoses in order to map HIV burden among MSM in the United States at multiple geographic levels. They found that the estimated rate of diagnosed HIV infection among MSM in was 11.1 per 100 MSM nationwide, which was 57.5 times greater than the rate of all other men in the U.S.
The study showed MSM in the South were particularly impacted: the highest rates of diagnosed HIV infection and newly diagnosed HIV infection among MSM were in southern states, and all but four high-prevalence MSAs were located in the South. County-level data followed a similar pattern. Finally, with the new rate information available, researchers found that the states with the highest HIV prevalence among MSM were not necessarily those with greatest number of HIV cases among MSM, and these newly identified high-prevalence states were all in the South. Georgia was identified as a state with both a large number of HIV cases among MSM (i.e., greater than 15,000) and a high rate of diagnosed HIV among MSM (i.e., greater than 15 per 100 people).
The study concluded that the findings indicated a need for improved monitoring and response regarding HIV among MSM, particularly in the South. The researchers intend for the results to aid public health providers in obtaining and allocating resources to expand access to prevention, treatment, and care resources to MSM in areas of heightened HIV burden, with the goal of addressing the profound HIV health disparities between the general population and sexual minorities in the United States.