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National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Homosexual couple smilingFind your best HIV prevention and treatment options.

National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a call to action to continue to raise awareness and understanding of the effects of HIV on gay and bisexual men. Since the first cases of AIDS were reported among gay and bisexual men more than 30 years ago, no group in the United States has been more affected by HIV. Although they make up only 2% of the overall population, gay and bisexual men—including those who inject drugs—account for over half of the 1.2 million people living with HIV in the United States, and two-thirds of all new HIV infections each year, most of these among young gay and bisexual men. It is up to each of us to create a national conversation to ensure that every person in every community—especially gay and bisexual men of all ages—knows and talks about HIV prevention and treatment options.

Two men talking over coffee

Start Talking. Stop HIV. offers conversation starters to help gay and bisexual partners talk about HIV.

Talk About HIV

Start Talking. Stop HIV., a campaign under CDC's Act Against AIDS  initiative, seeks to reduce new HIV infections among gay and bisexual men by encouraging sex partners to have frank conversations about a range of HIV prevention strategies and related sexual health issues. Effective partner communication about HIV can reduce HIV transmission by supporting HIV testing, HIV status disclosure, and the use of condoms and medicines to prevent and treat HIV.

Know Your Status

Nearly 1 in 7 gay and bisexual men living with HIV are undiagnosed. Getting tested is the critical first step toward protecting yourself and your partner from HIV. If you don't have HIV, you can learn how to protect yourself, and if your test is positive, you can get medical treatment that can help you stay healthier, live longer, and reduce your risk of transmitting HIV to your partner. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 be tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care. Some gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3-6 months), as well as from the use of PrEP to prevent HIV in those at high risk.

To find a testing site, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), visit gettested.cdc.gov, or use a home testing kit. Several Act Against AIDS  campaigns encourage gay and bisexual men to be tested for HIV. REASONS/RAZONES  features Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men sharing their reasons for getting tested, and Testing Makes Us Stronger  encourages African American gay and bisexual men to learn their HIV status by getting tested. The campaign materials can help start conversations, reduce stigma, provide information on ways to prevent HIV, and encourage healthy choices like getting tested and getting into treatment if HIV positive.

September 27 is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Talk about  HIV and get tested.

September 27 is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day.

Know Your Prevention and Treatment Options

For HIV-negative gay and bisexual men who are sexually active, there are more tools available and more actions to take to stay safe and healthy. Some are listed below, but even more information is available at Start Talking. Stop HIV.

  • Use condoms consistently and correctly.
  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors. For example, oral sex is much less risky than anal sex.
  • Reduce the number of people with whom you have sex.
  • Talk to your doctor about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taking HIV medicine daily to prevent HIV infection.
  • Talk to your doctor right away (within 3 days) about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), if you have a possible exposure to HIV.
  • Get tested and treated for other STDs and encourage your partners to do the same. Find an STD testing site.
  • If your partner is HIV-positive, encourage your partner to get and stay on treatment.

Gay and bisexual men living with HIV can take the actions listed here to reduce their risk of transmitting HIV:

  • Use antiretroviral therapy (ART) consistently and correctly.
  • If you are taking ART, follow your health care provider's advice.
  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors. For example, oral sex is much less risky than anal sex.
  • Use condoms consistently and correctly.
  • Talk to your partners about pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), taking HIV medicine daily to prevent HIV infection.
  • Talk to your partners about post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP) if you think they have had a possible exposure to HIV.
  • Get tested and treated for other STDs and encourage your partners to do the same. Find an STD testing site.

CDC data show that 42% of all gay and bisexual men diagnosed with HIV have reached viral suppression by getting into HIV treatment, while only 26% of young gay and bisexual men are virally suppressed. This day and every day, we can all do something to help people living with HIV get treatment and the support needed to remain in care. Ensuring that every person living with HIV—including gay and bisexual men—is engaged in HIV medical care will not only improve health, but reduce the risk of HIV transmission in every community. Talking about ways to prevent HIV, getting tested to learn your HIV status, and getting into treatment if you have HIV are actions everyone can take today to reduce the risk of HIV and enjoy longer and healthier lives. On National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, let's all take some action to help reduce the toll HIV continues to take on gay and bisexual men, and on every community across the nation.

Join the #NGMHAAD Twitter Chat on Thursday, September 24, 2015 at 1 PM EDT #NGMHAADChat

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