National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
September 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). This year’s theme, The Conversation About HIV Is Changing: Talk Undetectable. Talk PrEP., reminds us that advances in science have given us powerful tools that can help end new HIV infections in the United States.
HIV treatment is an example of one of these powerful tools. More than half (58%) of gay and bisexual men in the United States who have HIV have a suppressed viral load because they stay in care and stay on treatment as prescribed. People with HIV who take their HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load (or stay virally suppressed) have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex.
Another powerful tool is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). For people who are HIV-negative but at very high risk for getting HIV, taking PrEP daily is highly effective for reducing the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%. PrEP is much less effective when not taken consistently.
Most Affected Population
Gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV, making up 70% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas* in 2017. CDC data show new HIV diagnoses remained stable in recent years (27,000 in 2017) among gay and bisexual men overall. However, new diagnoses are falling among some age and racial/ethnic groups. While this is good news, we have work to do. New HIV diagnoses increased 18% among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men from 2010 to 2016 and 38% among black/African American† gay and bisexual men aged 25 to 34.
On NGMHAAD, keep the conversation going—remember to talk undetectable, talk PrEP! We also urge everyone to learn more about the proposed federal initiative, Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for Americaexternal icon, which gives us hope that new HIV diagnoses can be dramatically reduced in the United States in the next decade. With today’s powerful data and tools, we can reduce and prevent new HIV infections and help people with HIV stay healthy.
Start Talking. Stop HIV. offers conversation starters to help gay and bisexual partners talk about HIV.
What Can Gay and Bisexual Men Do?
Get the facts. CDC’s Let’s Stop HIV Together campaign includes Start Talking. Stop HIV., which 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).
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. To make sure you keep an undetectable viral load, take your medicine as prescribed, and see your provider regularly to monitor your health.
If you know you are HIV-negative, the following activities are highly effective for preventing HIV:
- Taking medicine to prevent HIV (PrEP) if you are at high risk for getting the virus. Use the PrEP locator to find a PrEP provider in your area.
- Never sharing needles, syringes, or other equipment to inject drugs (for example, cookers).
- Using condoms the right way every time you have anal or vaginal sex. Check out the condom locator to find condoms near you
- Abstaining from sex (not having sex) is always an option.
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.
What Can CDC Partners Do?
Health departments, community-based organizations (CBOs), providers, and other partners can
- address stigma and discrimination,
- screen all gay and bisexual men for HIV risk and test those at high risk at least once a year,
- expand the reach of HIV prevention programs or discuss HIV prevention options with patients,
- prescribe or link patients to PrEP if they are at very high risk for HIV,
- prescribe or link patients to PEP if they may have been exposed to HIV in the last 72 hours,
- link patients to care or prescribe HIV treatment as soon as possible after they get an HIV diagnosis and help them stay in care, and
- learn how CDC helps health departments and CBOs plan, implement, and evaluate HIV prevention programs.
*American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.
†Black refers to people having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa, including immigrants from the Caribbean, and South and Latin America. African American is a term often used for Americans of African descent with ancestry in North America. Individuals may self-identify as either, both, or choose another identity altogether.
- HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men
- HIV and African American Gay and Bisexual Men
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Health
- Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health
- Let’s Stop HIV Together
- HIV Risk Reduction Tool
- Twitter: CDC HIV/AIDS
- Facebook: CDC HIV, Start Talking. Stop HIV.
- Instagram: Let’s Stop HIV Together, Start Talking. Stop HIV.
- HIV.govexternal icon