amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research

September 27: National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

NGA logoGay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) remain particularly vulnerable to HIV infection. By the end of 2009, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 296,222 MSM with an AIDS diagnosis had died in the U.S. since the beginning of the epidemic. And in 2010, MSM accounted for 51% of estimated AIDS diagnoses among all adults and adolescents in the U.S.

September 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Launched in 2008 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), this day is intended to help gay men remember how much has been accomplished in the fight against HIV/AIDS, honor those who have passed, and renew our collective commitment to ending the epidemic. 

Earlier this month, amfAR released an issue brief—“Ending the HIV Epidemic Among Gay Men in the United States”—that details recent science and policy advances that are key to turning the tide in the domestic gay HIV epidemic. The brief argues that more frequent HIV testing and linkage to appropriate care, in combination with traditional prevention measures such as consistent use of condoms and safer sex practices, are needed to bring down HIV incidence among gay men. It calls for systematic changes to reduce barriers to HIV testing and treatment for gay men, including expanded provider education and training, insurance coverage, and utilization of new testing technologies.

“Data show that we won’t reverse the AIDS epidemic in the U.S. unless we focus specifically on gay men, who shoulder a disproportionate burden of new infections,” said amfAR CEO Kevin Robert Frost. “Current HIV incidence trends suggest that the epidemic among gay men could take a turn for the worse, reversing what little progress has been made and threatening a new generation of young men. We can’t let that happen.”

NAPWA will commemorate the fifth annual observance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with a prayer breakfast, press conference, and all-day HIV testing in Washington, D.C. For a schedule of 2012 events, click here.