HIV Rates Among Heterosexuals & Homosexuals
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs) have been rising among gay and bisexual men, with increases in syphilis being seen across the country. In 2013, gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men accounted for 75% of primary and secondary syphilis cases in the United States. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men often get other STDs, including chlamydia and gonorrhea infections. HPV (Human papillomavirus), the most common STD in the United States, is also a concern for gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. Some types of HPV can cause genital and anal warts and some can lead to the development of anal and oral cancers. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men are 17 times more likely to get anal cancer than heterosexual men. Men who are HIV-positive are even more likely than those who do not have HIV to get anal cancer.
How are STDs spread?
- STDs are spread through sexual contact (without a condom) with someone who has an STD. Sexual contact includes oral, anal, and vaginal sex, as well as genital skin-to-skin contact. While condoms are effective, HPV and HSV can be spread by contact with the area around the genitals not protected by the condom.
- Some STDs—like HIV, chlamydia and gonorrhea—are spread through body fluids, such as semen (cum). Other STDs, including HIV and Hepatitis B, are also spread through blood. Genital herpes, syphilis, and HPV are most often spread through genital skin-to-skin contact.
What are the signs and symptoms of STDs?
- Most STDs have no signs or symptoms, so you (or your partner) could be infected and not know it.
- The only way to know your STD status is to get tested (Search for a clinic near you).
- Having an STD such as herpes makes it easier to get HIV.
Key STD Resources
- Cancer Facts for Gay and Bisexual Men(American Cancer Society)
Condoms for Protection
To get the maximum protection from using condoms, a new condom must be used correctly each time you have sex.
Condoms work well to protect against the spread of STDs and HIV. If they don’t work, it’s usually because were not used correctly.
When should I be tested?
All sexually active gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men should be tested regularly for STDs. The only way to know your STD status is to get tested (you can search for a testing site). Having an STD (like gonorrhea) makes it easier to get HIV or give it to others, so it's important that you get tested to protect your health and the health of your partner. CDC recommends sexually active gay and bisexual men test for
- HIV (at least once a year);
- Hepatitis B;
- Hepatitis C if you were born between 1945 to 1965 or with risk behaviors (see "how is hepatitis C spread");
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea of the rectum if you’ve had receptive anal sex or been a “bottom” in the past year;
- Chlamydia and gonorrhea of the penis (urethra) if you have had insertive anal sex (been on the “top”) or received oral sex in the past year; and
- Gonorrhea of the throat if you’ve given oral sex (your mouth on your partner’s penis, vagina, or anus) in the past year.
Sometimes your doctor or health care provider may suggest a herpes blood test. If you have more than one partner or have had casual sex with people you don’t know, you should be screened more often for STDs and may benefit from getting tested for HIV more often (for example, every 3 to 6 months). Your doctor can offer you the best care if you discuss your sexual history openly. Talk with your doctor about getting vaccinations for Hepatitis A and B, and HPV.
You should have a doctor or provider you are comfortable with. CDC's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Health Services page has resources that can help you find health services that are skilled in working with gay and bisexual men. Also, HIV Treatment Works resources have information about how to get in care and stay on treatment, as well as resources on how to live well.
How can I prevent STDs?
For anyone, being sexually active means you are at risk for STDs. However, you can do many things to protect your health. You can learn about how STDs are spread and how you can lower your chances of getting them.
Get Vaccinated: Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men have a greater chance of getting Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, and HPV. For this reason, CDC recommends that you be vaccinated against Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. The HPV vaccine is also recommended for men up to age 26.
Be Safer: Getting tested regularly and getting vaccinated are both important, but there are other things you can do to reduce your risk for STDs.
- Talk honestly with your partner about STDs and getting tested—before you have sex.
- Use condoms correctly every time you have sex.
- Think twice about mixing alcohol and/or drugs with sex. They can lower your ability to make good decisions and can lead to risky behavior—like having sex without a condom.
- Limit your number of sexual partners. You can lower your chances of getting STDs if you only have sex with one person who only has sex with you.
Know Your Status: If you know your STD status, you can take steps to protect yourself and your partners.
Can STDs Be Treated?
Some STDs (like gonorrhea, chlamydia and syphilis) can be cured with medication. If you are ever treated for an STD, be sure to finish all of your medicine, even if you feel better. Your partner should be tested and treated, too. It is important to remember that you can get the same or a new STD every time you have unprotected sex (not using a condom) and/or have sex with someone who has an STD.
Other STDs like herpes and HIV cannot be cured, but you can take medicines to manage symptoms.
This study compared prevalence rates of most common sexually transmitted diseases (STD) in heterosexual and homosexual men who made respectively 12,201 and 5324 visits to an STD clinic over 18 months. Overall, homosexual men were significantly (p < 0.001) more likely than heterosexual men to have gonorrhea (30.31% vs. 19.83%), early syphilis (1.08% vs. 0.34%) and anal warts (2.90% vs. 0.26%) but less likely to have nongonococcal urethritis (NGU) (14.63% vs. 36.40%, p < 0.001), herpes genitalis (0.93% vs. 3.65%, p < 0.001), pediculosis pubis (4.30% vs. 5.35%, p < 0.005), scabies (0.42% vs. 0.76%, p < 0.02), and genital warts (1.68% vs. 6.69%, p < 0.001). In most cases the differences in rates remained significant (p < 0.05) when corrected for age and race. It is speculated that higher rates of gonorrhea and syphilis result from a larger mean number of sexual contacts, more potential sites of infection, and more hidden and asymptomatic disease, while the lower rates of the other STD result from a lesser susceptibility of anal mucosa to the causative agent(s) of NGU, herpes genitalis, and venereal warts or from a lack of pubic apposition (pediculosis pubis).
Differences in sexual behaviours do not fully explain why the US HIV epidemic affects gay men so much more than straight men and women, claims research in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections.
In 2005, over half of new HIV infections diagnosed in the US were among gay men, and up to one in five gay men living in cities is thought to be HIV positive. Yet two large population surveys showed that most gay men had similar numbers of unprotected sexual partners per year as straight men and women.
US researchers applied a series of carefully calculated equations in different scenarios to study the rate at which HIV infection has spread among gay men and straight men and women. They used figures taken from two national surveys to estimate how many sex partners gay men and straight men and women have, and what proportion of gay men have insertive or receptive anal sex, or both.
They then set these figures against accepted estimates of how easily HIV is transmitted by vaginal and anal sex to calculate the size of the HIV epidemic in gay men and straight men and women.
The results showed that for the straight US population to experience an epidemic of HIV infection as great as that of gay men, they would need to average almost five unprotected sexual partners every year.
This is a rate almost three times that of gay men.
But to end the HIV epidemic, gay men would need to have rates of unprotected sex several times lower than those currently evident among the straight population. This is because transmission rates are higher for anal sex than they are for vaginal sex, say the authors.
But "role versatility," whereby people adopt both “insertive” and “receptive roles,” also plays a part, they add. A gay man can be easily infected through unprotected receptive sex, and then infect someone else through insertive sex. Gay men are therefore far more susceptible to the spread of the virus through the population, even with the same numbers of unprotected sexual partners.
Statistics say yes.
Any way you argue this, there is one fact you can't get around. Most homosexuals have multiple partners, during their lifetime. Many of them have hundreds of them. So. It is a statistical certainty that they are at increased risk of contracting and spreading disease. All you have to do is Google the center for disease control statistics. It is clear that homosexuals are several times more likely to contract aids. Those are the facts.
Yes, it has been proven, but it isn't anyone's fault.
I am going to talk openly about this subject.
Some people who are gay may not realise (that is spelt right, I'm British) that it does not need to be the 'usual' kind of intercourse that HIV/AIDS spreads through; it can be any exchange of bodily fluids. Things like herpes can be spread purely by touch as well, and pubic lice are spread simply by sharing a bed or towels with someone who is infected.
Another thing is that being gay and having sex means no need for protection from pregnancy, so obviously there is a much lower use of condoms in the gay and lesbian communities, leading to the perfect breeding ground for STDs. This is only natural.
This is not helped by the fact that schools do not teach anything about homosexual sex and how to stop STDs being spread through that. When we were taught, we were told that being gay and lesbian is fine- that we should make sure we are all equal. However we are taught nothing about the risk of same sex intercourse, and how infections can be prevented.
I don't wish to vote yes, I am a strong believer in anti- homophobia and gay marriage, but the facts are all there.
They do. Not according to my opinion but according to facts.
Research this, people. Honestly. Even my gay friends know this. But I think a point has to be made. Some people are calling this question "anti - gay - propaganda." These FACTS are not propaganda; they're real life. Since when is using proven facts being anti - gay? Give me a break.
Almost all of us on this site live in a certain society where the system is controlled and affected largely by religion, the same religion that condems each and every gay people, stating that they will go to hell for eternal damnation and pain just because of whom they may like.
Statistics don't hold any significance, as they are only a bunch of numbers that are published by people that don't remotely have any interest on the topic. Many 'scientific' papers are done, only in order to be corrected 5 months later with the exact opposite idea that is fitting for the people controlling the research.
Statistics are nothing but a bunch of made up numbers, and unless you have other evidences, your argument on this matter holds zero credibility.
Homosexuality in itself does not automatically make one more likely to catch and spread more STD's. This is just another example of anti-gay propaganda. Statistically speaking, in most developing countries, sexually transmitted infections are spread mainly through heterosexual contact, with the exception of HIV. Either way, it proves nothing. Also I should mention that gay women have the lowest percentage of every sexually transmitted infection globally, so this statement is completely false.
Not true in the slightest.
People who are gay are not more likely to catch and spread STD's compared to a straight person. The only real way to catch an STD is through risky behavior and negligence, which is shared by people who are both straight and gay. No orientation is more inclined to receive an STD than another.
Statistically, yes they do.
It's not that inherently a person who is gay is more likely to receive/spread STDs, it's just that gay men are more likely than other categories of individuals to engage in risky and unsafe sexual practices including unprotected sex with multiple partners. It is unfortunate and there are probably a multitude of sociological explanations for this, but the fact remains that gay men as a gender/orientation category are more likely than others to get and spread STDs.
Homosexuality is not the cause.
The cause of it spreading is unprotected sex. Homosexuals are taught by society that they will get STDs so they feel no need to use protection, resulting in an increased rate of STDs in homosexuals. If people stopped being homophobes and started looking at the actual causes then the homosexuals might use protection more, resulting in less STDs.
On The Unhealthy Homosexual Lifestyle
Medical researchers have known for many years that the "homosexual lifestyle" is a very disease-ridden lifestyle. (The fact that the dominant liberal media are downplaying and/or ignoring and/or censoring the following crucial information should give you a clue as to just how biased, untrustworthy, corrupt, and potentially detrimental they can be.)
For example, one 1982 study mentioned in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that the anal cancer rate for homosexuals is way above normal, maybe as high as 50 times normal. And a 1997 New England Journal of Medicine study again drew attention to the "strong association between anal cancer and male homosexual contact." (The reason for the connection is that the lining of the anus, as opposed to the much thicker lining of the vagina, is only a single cell in thickness, tears easily, and thus is an easy point of entry for viruses and bacteria. Just as repeatedly assaulting lung tissue with cigarette smoke increases one's lung cancer risk, repeatedly damaging the anus and rectum increases one's anal cancer risk. Anal sex frequently results in damage to the anus and rectum. Too, this helps explain why AIDS is spread so easily in the homosexual community. However, even when there are not any tears in the anal lining, there is still a high risk for HIV infection because certain cells in its mucous lining [M-cells and Langerhans cells] can be infected and will then carry HIV deeper into one's body.)
Another study found that: 1) 80% of syphilitic patients are homosexual; 2) about one-third of homosexuals are infected with active anorectal herpes simplex viruses; 3) chlamydia infects 15% of homosexuals; and 4) "a host of parasites, bacterial, viral, and protozoan are all rampant in the homosexual population."
Another study found that: 1) amoebiasis, a parasitic disease, afflicts around 32% of homosexuals; 2) giardiasis, also a parasitic disease, afflicts 14% of homosexuals (noheterosexuals in the study were found to have either amoebiasis or giardiasis); 3) gonorrhea afflicts 14% of homosexuals; and 4) 11% of homosexuals had anal warts.
Another study found that anorectal sepsis, a potentially toxic bacterial infection, is 4 times more common in homosexual than heterosexual men.
According to another study, the "prevalence of EBV type 2 [the Epstein-Barr type 2 virus] among homosexual men was significantly higher than it was among heterosexual men (39% vs. 6%)." (That virus causes infectious mononucleosis and is associated with two types of cancer: Burkitt's lymphoma and nasopharyngeal carcinoma.)
And other studies have found abnormally high rates of hepatitis B infection, hepatitis A infection, prostate cancer, colitis, enteritis, proctitis, and proctocolitis in homosexual men.
In 1997 a writer for the pro-homosexual New York Times noted that a young male homosexual in America has about a 50% chance of getting H.I.V. by middle age, that many homosexuals have abandoned "safe sex" in favor of unprotected anal sex, and that the incidence of gonorrhea rose 74% among homosexuals between 1993 and 1996.
According to a study by the CDC, in 2002, 88% of San Francisco syphilis cases were found among homo/bisexual men.
The Chicago Department of Public Health reported that the percentage of Chicago AIDS diagnoses connected to homo/bisexual men increased from 37% in year 2000 to 44% in 2003; and in mid-2006 it also reported that homo/bisexual men accounted for approximately 73% of Chicago syphilis cases for the year 2005. And a September 2010 report from the Centers for Disease Control titled "HIV among Gay, Bisexual and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM)" noted: "Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately 2% of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s....At the end of 2006, more than half (53%) of all people living with HIV in the United States were MSM or MSM-IDU [injection drug user]." And according to a CDC report, 75% of syphilis cases in this country were found in homo/bisexuals in 2012.
Regarding HIV/AIDS, the HIV/AIDS rate for homo/bisexual males, even after all the years of warnings, continues to be so abnormally high that the Sept./Oct. 2012 edition of The Gay & Lesbian Review actually described HIV/AIDS as a "Gay Disease" and "primarily a 'gay' problem" and noted that "Gay men are sixty times more likely than heterosexual men...to be diagnosed with HIV."
We'll conclude this section on male homo/bisexual STDs with three short refreshingly honest quotes from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. These were found on its website, http://www.glma.org, on Nov. 4, 2009, in a document titled "Top 10 Things Gay Men Should Discuss with their Healthcare Provider." (It may still be on its website.)
The quotes: 1) "[M]en who have sex with men are at an increased risk of HIV infection....[T]he last few years have seen the return of many unsafe sex practices."
2) "Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) occur in sexually active gay men at a high rate. This includes...syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, pubic lice,...Hepatitis A, B, or C virus, Human Papilloma Virus, etc."
3) "Gay men may be at risk for death by prostate, testicular, or colon cancer....[And there are] increased rates of anal cancers in gay men."
Regarding lesbians, they face a higher breast cancer risk. One study of lesbians found that: "Sixty-three percent of the lesbians had never been pregnant....[And] Not having children increases a woman's breast cancer risk by between two to six times." Not having children also "may be a risk factor for ovarian cancer and may be implicated in endometrial cancer as well."
Another study found bacterial vaginosis occuring in 33% of the lesbians but only in 13% of heterosexual women, and found that: "Cervical cytology abnormalities were uncommon but only found in the lesbians." (Those abnormalities may be precursors to cervical cancers.)
Another study of lesbians found a "relatively high prevalence of the viral STDs, herpes simplex and human papillomavirus [HPV]." And according to another: "Genital HPV infection and squamous intraepithelial lesions are common among women who are sexually active with women." HPV has been connected to cervical cancer. "DNA analysis has revealed that about 15 types of the virus account for more than 99 percent of all cervical cancer cases."
(One reason lesbians have a relatively high incidence of STDs is that, as some studies have documented, lesbians have more sexual partners than heterosexual women. For example, a large University of Chicago study concluded that lesbians have four times as many sexual partners as straight women.)
Two short quotes from the Gay and Lesbian Medical Association. These were found on its website in a document titled "Top 10 Things Lesbians Should Discuss with their Healthcare Provider."
1) "Lesbians have the richest concentration of risk factors for breast cancer than any subset of women in the world."
2) "Lesbians have higher risks for many of the gynecologic cancers."
We'll conclude this section on lesbian STDs with this quote from the Oct. 2012 Advocate, a homosexual magazine: "A link between lesbians and cancer, particularly breast cancer, is more than speculation, say experts....[E]xperts believe that lesbians have an increased risk of developing breast cancer....[T]he National LGBT Cancer Network says cancer disproportionately affects lesbians."
It should be noted that lesbian sexual diseases have not been researched nearly as much as male homosexual sexual diseases. This is because lesbian sex was presumed to be relatively safe. Some doctors are fairly calling for more research into the health of lesbians. With more study, we may find the "lesbian lifestyle" is not so safe after all.
Another relatively unknown fact: the blood of male homosexuals tends to be so contaminated with various viruses and bacteria that all male homosexuals who have been sexually active since 1977 are barred from donating blood.
A contributing factor to all the diseases found in homosexuals is habitual promiscuity; and a contributing factor to their promiscuity is the popularity of drug use among them. As a homosexual columnist for the Windy City Times, Jose Zuniga, has reported, there is "out-of-control drug use undermining our [homosexual] community's health and well-being, and contributing to the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases."
Homosexual author Dennis Altman, in one of his books, likewise noted the popularity of drugs among homosexuals: "What is disturbing is the degree to which much of the gay world rests on a sea of alcohol and drugs."
Liberals and their media love to restrict the rights of consenting adults who smoke (because smoking can be harmful), who drink alcohol (for obvious reasons), who own guns (because accidents and murders happen), who believe homosexual activity is immoral and penalizeable (because liberals mistakenly think that there is a right to aberrations like homosexual behavior and also think that any "speech" that reflects negatively on homosexuals---like the information you are reading on this website---should be considered "hate speech"), etc., etc. Liberals love to patronizingly restrict our freedoms ("for our own good").
However, liberals apparently believe it's perfectly okay for people to spread sexual diseases all over this country. Why, we can't restrict the rights of people who spread STDs! That's oppression and fascism! Liberals are such hypocrites.
Incidentally, spending on AIDS research is excessive, totally out-of-whack, unconscionably unfair---and homosexuals are so selfish they don't care. In the year 2000 we spent around $180 million on prostate cancer research versus around $7 billion on AIDS research, but the number of men who are stricken with prostate cancer each year in the U.S.A. is several times the number of people annually stricken with AIDS!! And in the year 2000 we spent only around $425 million on breast cancer research versus the $7 billion on AIDS research, even though the number of women who are stricken with breast cancer each year is again several times the number of people annually stricken with AIDS in this country!! It's pretty clear that homosexuals care little about those who die of prostate and breast cancers and other diseases that are relatively underfunded compared to AIDS. Where is their humanity and sense of fairness?
Another point that needs making: homosexuals have done much damage to this country. For example, thousands of innocent hemophiliacs died of AIDS in years past because HIV-positive homosexuals infected the blood supply. (In 1984 "the Centers for Disease Control found 74 percent of hemophiliacs who received blood factors made from the plasma of U.S. donors were HIV positive.") And for another example, we are spending millions and millions of taxpayer dollars on anti-AIDS drugs for homosexuals who voluntarily engaged in unsafe sex. Because of these outrages homosexuals collectively owe America an apology and reparations for the damages.
To sum up, for various reasons (homosexual acts are physiologically unnatural, homosexuals are inclined to be notably promiscuous), the "homosexual lifestyle" tends to be a very unhealthy one---unhealthy both to individuals and to the society that indirectly pays for or suffers the consequences. To encourage anyone to engage in homosexual activity is clearly irresponsible and depraved.
(Since anal sex was discussed above, this section of our website is as good a place as any to note the following: One homosexual was honest enough to admit that the feeling of being "fisted," i.e., having a fist moving back and forth in one's rectum, is "like the feeling your funny bone gets when it's hit, only it travels all over your body." Being fisted is clearly not a truly pleasurable experience. Now, since an erect phallus moving back and forth in a rectum is somewhat analogous to being "fisted," it seems reasonable to conclude that being the recipient of "anal sex" is not a truly pleasurable experience---indeed, it may be just the opposite. And if having matter---like a phallus---moving in a rectum was truly pleasurable, then defecating would also be pleasurable since when we defecate we have matter moving through our anal tissues. But only people with a psychological problem find the act of defecating pleasurable. To psychologically healthy people, defecating is no more pleasurable than drinking water, though it can be painful if one is constipated. We apologize for the graphic nature of this paragraph, but its content is relevant.)
New York, NY — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) today released new statistics on incidence rates of HIV and syphilis among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The data, which identified MSM as men who have engaged sexually with another man within the last five years, revealed that MSM are over 44 times more likely than other men to contract HIV, and over 40 times more likely than women to contract HIV. Further, MSM were over 46 times more likely to contract syphilis than other men, and over 71 times more likely than women to contract syphilis.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) comprised 57% of people newly infected with HIV in 2006, according to the CDC, even though MSM are only 2% of the adult population. However, research shows that most gay men practice safer sex, and gay male couples are twice as likely as heterosexual couples to practice safer sex.
"The CDC's newly released statistics highlight how HIV continues to disproportionately affect gay men more than any other group in the U.S.," said Marjorie Hill, Ph.D., Chief Executive Officer of GMHC. "Greater prevention efforts targeted toward this population are clearly needed. We commend President Obama for proposing a new $28 million initiative in his Fiscal Year 2011 budget to expand innovative HIV prevention with gay and bisexual men. It is time the CDC match the trends of the epidemic," added Hill.
To combat the rate of HIV infection among MSM, GMHC encourages the implementation of the following innovative preventive measures:
- Comprehensive sex education for middle school and high school students that explicitly addresses same-sex behavior.
- School interventions that promote tolerance and acceptance of LGBT youth, such as gay-straight alliances and anti-bullying curricula. Such interventions correlate with lower HIV risk behavior among gay and bisexual men, and better health and school performance outcomes.
- Scaling-up community-level interventions encouraging families to accept their gay sons, which is correlated with lower rates of gay and bisexual men's engagement in high-risk sexual behavior.
- Community-level interventions, including social marketing campaigns, and use of social media, to address HIV stigma and homophobia.
A 2002 analysis of more than 60 behavioral studies published during the 1990s, written by the internationally-known HIV prevention theorist David Nimmons, found that between 60% and 70% of gay men used condoms when having sex, compared with a third or less of heterosexual men and women. Other analyses published between 2000 and 2003 similarly found that gay men have safer sex at twice the rate of the general population.
Everyone, in this generation, has the same chance of getting an STD. You can be gay, straight, black, white, and so on, and you will still have the same chance of getting an STD. It used to be back in the 80s where mainly gay men got targeted for having HIV and AIDS, but somewhere along the lines it was filed as bullsh*t. Anyone that has sex, unprotected or even protected has a chance of getting an STD. There is bigger risks though, anal sex (gay men and a lot of woman) puts you at much higher risk of contracting an STD because the tissue in the anus is much easier to tear and the STD can easily get into the blood stream. Vaginal intercourse is the next risky way to getting an STD and than there's oral sex. Judging by a persons actions makes that individual more likely to get an STD. Also, just to say, there are a lot of hookup websites for gay men, so there are a lot of gay people to go around (find the a good one is hard to find lol) I'm dating someone who used to sleep around a lot and did infact practice safer sex.
Doesn't matter who you are and what your sexuality is.... the more unprotected sex you have the more likely your chance of getting an STD....Gay, Lesbian.. Heterosexual, Asexual, Technosexual...doesn't matter.
PS.. Gay ppl can't get pregnant, but they can get an STD just as easily as the next straight person.
People don't want STDs just as much as not wanting to get pregnant by accident so they will use protection if they are smart... it all depends on the individual with very little relation if none at all to sexuality.
There are a lot of misinformed answers here. To answer the question, yes, gay men are exponentially more likely to have STDs than straight men. According to the CDC gay men are 44x as likely to have HIV, 46x as likely to have syphilis, 17x as likely to develop anal cancer, etc, etc. There are several reasons for this huge disparity, but the bottom line is if you're gay and sexually active, be VERY careful.
At the National STD Prevention Conference on Wednesday, the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) released some astonishing data regarding rates of infection among MSM (Men who have Sex with Men).
The data indicate that rates of HIV infection among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are more than 44 times higher than rates among heterosexual men and more than 40 times higher than women. Rates of syphilis, an STD that can facilitate HIV infection and, if left untreated, may lead to sight loss and severe damage to the nervous system, are reported to be more than 46 times higher among gay men and other MSM than among heterosexual men and more than 71 times higher than among women. (Full presser here).
Disturbing statistics indeed. But for all this darkness, there's a light on the horizon:
While the heavy toll of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men has been long recognized, this analysis shows just how stark the health disparities are between this and other populations," said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. "It is clear that we will not be able to stop the U.S. HIV epidemic until every affected community, along with health officials nationwide, prioritize the needs of gay and bisexual men with HIV prevention efforts. (emphasis mine)
Listen up: "Prioritize the needs of gay and bisexual men with HIV prevention efforts." That means at the head of the line, the top of the list, etc. That means that they are publicly saying that what has been done in the past to target MSM is not working. To my knowledge this has never been said before by the CDC. I don't want to blow this out of proportion, but this may change the face of outreach and prevention efforts in the U.S. I'm an optimist, but I'm also a realist.
It's not going to happen without our help.
As MSM, PWH (Persons with HIV), LGBTIQ, allies, families, friends, we not only have to hold our state and local agencies and organizations to this, we have to help figure out what's gone wrong. So let's get started.
These are completely preventible diseases. We are not preventing them (granted, I have one of them). For openers, I'll throw out some questions:
- Have we stopped caring about ourselves and our partners? Have we lost our self-respect?
- Have we simply accepted that as gay/bi/dl(down low) men, this is the price we pay?
- Do young gay men know what a pain in the ass it is to have HIV? Are PWH telling them?
- Are we STD ignorant?Syphilis can be just as deadly as HIV.
- Are men just stupid in the face of sex?
- Are we just tired?
- What can we do to stop the infection of our community? What will work?