amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

amfAR Calls for New Paradigm for HIV Prevention Among Gay Men

New CDC estimates show growing HIV epidemic among young, black gay men in the United States

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:
Cub Barrett, Program Communications Manager
(212) 806-1602

NEW YORK, August 3, 2011—Young, black gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) were the only population to see an increase in HIV infections between 2006 and 2009, according to the first multi-year estimates of domestic HIV infections, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced Wednesday.

Overall, the annual number of new HIV infections in the U.S. was stable—at about 50,000 new infections each year from 2006 through 2009. But the new estimates show a worsening epidemic among young gay men, and particularly young, black gay men. Young, black gay men were the only subpopulation to experience a sustained increase during the time period, with about 10,800 new infections per year, but white gay men (11,400 new infections), Hispanic gay men (6,000), and black women (5,400) were also heavily affected.

“We have known for a long time that gay men—especially gay men of color—are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, but this report confirms that the epidemic is becoming even more severe in these groups,” said Kevin Frost, CEO of amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research. “Now that we have the prevention and treatment tools to begin to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic, we must invest the proper resources and more effectively target the groups that are most at risk.”

“The science is showing us that HIV treatment and prevention are closely connected,” said Chris Collins, amfAR’s vice president and director of public policy. “To bring HIV incidence down, we must do a better job of reaching all those at elevated risk, particularly young, black gay men, with HIV prevention, testing, treatment, and support services. Unless we find ways to make comprehensive health services work for young, black gay men, America’s epidemic is only going to get worse.”

Earlier this year amfAR released a report with Trust for America’s Health calling for a new paradigm for HIV prevention among gay men in the United States.  The report argues that more must be done to address the context of risk for gay men, including expanded access to HIV/AIDS treatment and programs to address social drivers of vulnerability, including stigma. (View the report.) 

The CDC report also found that:

  • Gay men represent only 2 percent of the U.S. population but accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009.
  • Young gay men (ages 13 to 29) were most severely affected, representing 27% of all new HIV infections.
  • Blacks, who represent 14% of the total U.S. population, accounted for 44% of new HIV infections in 2009.
  • Hispanics, who represent 16% of the total U.S. population, accounted for 20% of new HIV infections in 2009.

About amfAR
amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research, is one of the world’s leading nonprofit organizations dedicated to the support of AIDS research, HIV prevention, treatment education, and the advocacy of sound AIDS-related public policy. Since 1985, amfAR has invested nearly $325 million in its programs and has awarded grants to more than 2,000 research teams worldwide.