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National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Two men looking at paper and laptopFind your best HIV prevention and treatment options.

National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is a time for all Americans to think about 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 the epidemic. 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 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States, and two-thirds of all new HIV infections each year. Now more than ever, it's important for gay and bisexual men to know and talk about HIV prevention and treatment options.

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

Poster: National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day 9/27/14

Know Your Status

Nearly 1 in 5 gay and bisexual men living with HIV are undiagnosed. Getting tested is the critical first step in the process of protecting oneself and partners from HIV. Knowing one's HIV status provides powerful information and the steps to take to protect health. Gay and bisexual men should get tested, and encourage others to get tested too. If a test is positive, treatment is available to stay healthy for many years and reduce the chance of transmitting HIV to sex partners. If a test is negative, for those who are sexually active, getting tested at least once a year is recommended – some men may benefit from more frequent testing (e.g., every 3-6 months).

To find a testing site, call 1-800-CDC-INFO (232-4636), visit hivtest.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 for HIV, and Testing Makes Us Stronger encourages African American gay and bisexual men to learn their HIV status by getting tested.

Know Your Prevention and Treatment Options

For HIV-negative gay and bisexual men who are sexually active, there are more tools available today and more actions to take to stay safe and healthy. Below are the key actions to take and you can learn more at the Start Talking. Stop HIV. web site.

  • Choose less risky sexual behaviors. Use condoms consistently and correctly.
  • 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.

Poster: Testing Makes Us Stronger

For gay and bisexual men living with HIV, the following actions can reduce the 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.
  • 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 STDs and encourage your partners to do the same. Find an STD testing site.

Data from a recent CDC study show that in 2010, 42% of all gay and bisexual men living with diagnosed HIV had achieved viral suppression, while only 26% of young gay and bisexual men were virally suppressed. CDC's focus on getting people with HIV into treatment – and staying in treatment – will protect the health of many as well as prevent further transmission of HIV. A new CDC HIV awareness campaign, HIV Treatment Works, encourages people living with HIV to get in care, start taking HIV medications, remain in care, and stay on treatment as directed.

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