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National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

Two men having a pleasant conversation

September 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). This year’s theme, The Conversation About HIV Is Changing, reminds us that advances in science have given us powerful tools that can help end new HIV infections in the United States.

One of those tools is HIV treatment. We now know that people with HIV who take HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep a suppressed or undetectable viral load can stay healthy and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV through sex to HIV-negative partners. About half (52%) of gay and bisexual men in the U.S. who have HIV have a suppressed viral load. For some people with HIV, staying on treatment and staying virally suppressed can be challenging. Understanding the challenges of staying on treatment can help people with HIV take steps to address them.

Gay and bisexual men continue to be the population most affected by HIV, making up 67% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas in 2016.* However, the latest CDC data show signs of progress: new HIV diagnoses have remained stable in recent years (26,844 in 2016) among gay and bisexual men overall, and new diagnoses are falling among some age and racial/ethnic groups. These are encouraging signs. But new HIV diagnoses increased 13% among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men from 2011 to 2015, and 30% among African American gay and bisexual men aged 25 to 34. We must continue our efforts to stop HIV among all Americans, including gay and bisexual men.

Join us on NGMHAAD to encourage gay and bisexual men to talk about HIV prevention, including how being on HIV treatment and having an undetectable viral load can help people with HIV protect themselves and their partners.

Poster: Talk Undetectable - Star Talking. Stop HIV.

Start Talking. Stop HIV. offers conversation starters to help gay and bisexual men talk about HIV. Download large version. [2.34 MB]

What Can Gay and Bisexual Men Do?

Get the facts. CDC’s Start Talking. Stop HIV. campaign has many resources to raise awareness about HIV among gay and bisexual men, including conversation starters, information about safe sex, and other materials. Learn about HIV, and share this information with your partners, family, friends, and community.

Get tested. 1 in 6 gay and bisexual men with HIV do not know they have it. CDC recommends that everyone between the ages of 13 and 64 get tested for HIV at least once as part of routine health care and those at high risk get tested at least once a year. Some sexually active gay and bisexual men may benefit from more frequent testing (every 3 to 6 months).

To find a testing site near you, use the Doing It testing locator, text your ZIP code to KNOWIT (566948), or call 1-800-CDC-INFO. You can also use a home testing kit, available in drugstores or online.

If you know you are HIV-negative, the following activities are highly effective for preventing HIV:

  • Using condoms the right way every time you have anal or vaginal sex. Check out the condom locator to find condoms near you.
  • Taking medicine to prevent HIV (pre-exposure prophylaxis, or PrEP) if you are HIV-negative and at high risk for getting the virus. Use the PrEP locator to find a PrEP provider in your area.
  • Never sharing syringes or other equipment or works to inject drugs (for example, cookers).
  • Abstinence (not having sex) and not sharing syringes or works are 100% effective ways to make sure you won’t get HIV from sex or injecting drugs.

The following actions can also help lower your risk of getting HIV:

  • Limiting your number of sex partners.
  • Getting tested and treated for other sexually transmitted diseases.
  • Choosing activities with little to no risk, like oral sex.

You can learn more about how to protect yourself and your partners and get information tailored to meet your needs from CDC’s HIV Risk Reduction Tool (BETA).

If you have HIV, get in care and stay on treatment. Start treatment as soon as possible after you get a diagnosis. The most important thing you can do is take HIV medicine as prescribed by your doctor.

HIV medicine lowers the amount of virus (viral load) in your body, and taking it every day can make your viral load undetectable. If you get and keep an undetectable viral load, you can stay healthy for many years, and you have effectively no risk of sexually transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner. To make sure you keep an undetectable viral load, take your medicine as prescribed, and see your provider regularly to monitor your health.

What Can CDC Partners Do?

Health departments, community-based organizations (CBOs), providers, and other partners can

* American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.

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