Author: Patrick Sullivan, PhD, Professor of Epidemiology at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health, and AIDSVu Principal Scientist.
Today, AIDSVu launched a new resource highlighting key statistics about the HIV epidemic among men who have sex with men (MSM). In 2012, gay, bisexual, and other MSM represented less than 2 percent of the U.S. population, but accounted for more than half (52 percent) of all people living with HIV, and for nearly 65 percent of all new HIV diagnoses. MSM are more severely affected by HIV than any other group in the United States, and addressing this disparity will require an understanding of multiple issues for this group, including high rates of STDs, substance use, need for more frequent HIV testing, access to healthcare, stigma and discrimination.
Although sexual behaviors are a driver of the HIV epidemic among MSM in all areas, there is also substantial variation in the distribution of MSM living with HIV by geography. The high percentage of gay and bisexual men living with HIV means that, as a group, gay and bisexual men have an increased chance of sexual exposure to HIV. AIDSVu’s new MSM profile aims to illustrate the MSM HIV epidemic to increase awareness and educate about the impact of HIV in our communities. It features topline statistics for the current state of the epidemic among MSM, such as overall prevalence, racial/ethnic breakdowns, percentage of MSM tested for HIV, and new diagnoses.
Population profiles, such as the MSM population profile, are new AIDSVu tools to better understand the HIV epidemic. These population-specific breakdowns, in combination with AIDSVu’s maps, provide a guide to understanding not only where best to guide prevention resources, but also to illustrate the most highly-impacted populations. AIDSVu hopes that this new tool will further their goal to increase the effectiveness of targeted HIV prevention efforts.
The MSM population profile is the first in a forthcoming series of analytical statistics pages demonstrating the impact of the HIV epidemic on particular high-risk populations in the United States.