In advance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (observed Saturday, September 27), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a new analysis showing that only half (49.5%) of gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV in the United States are receiving treatment for their infection. And just 42 percent have achieved viral suppression – meaning their virus is under control at a level that helps keep them healthy and also greatly reduces their risk of transmitting HIV to others.
The findings – based on 2010 data and published today in CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report – underscore the need for improvements at each stage of HIV care, from diagnosis to retention in care and support for treatment adherence.
Among gay and bisexual men who had been diagnosed with HIV:
- 77.5 percent were linked to care
- 50.9 percent stayed in care
- 49.5 percent were prescribed antiretroviral therapy
- 42.0 percent achieved viral suppression (i.e., the virus is under control at a level that helps keep people healthy and reduces the risk of transmitting the virus to others)
There are stark disparities in care for young gay men and black gay men:
- Just one-quarter (25.9 percent) of gay and bisexual men aged 18-24 diagnosed with HIV had achieved viral suppression
- Among black MSM diagnosed with HIV, just 37.0 percent/ achieved viral suppression (vs. 43.9 and 41.5 percent of white and Hispanic MSM, respectively
Fully capitalizing on the benefits of antiretroviral therapy – both for individual health and for prevention – is critical for effectively addressing the U.S. epidemic.