HIV and African American Gay and Bisexual Men: Prevention Challenges

Racism, discrimination, HIV stigma, and homophobia affect the overall health and well-being of African American gay and bisexual men. Additionally, poverty and the associated socioeconomic factors—including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education—directly and indirectly increase the risk for HIV. Addressing these social and structural barriers and encouraging safe and supportive communities can help improve health outcomes for African American gay and bisexual men.

Other factors that can increase the chances of getting or transmitting HIV include:

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Delay in linkage to HIV medical care. According to an  MMWR, only 67% of Black/African American gay and bisexual men with newly diagnosed HIV, and 58% with previously diagnosed HIV, were linked to HIV medical care within 90 days of the diagnosis. Early linkage to HIV medical care is essential to achieving viral suppression.

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Low percentages of viral suppression. Black/African American gay and bisexual men have lower percentages of viral suppression compared to gay and bisexual men of other races/ethnicities. Because of the low percentages of viral suppression, the higher prevalence of HIV in that population, and the greater likelihood of having sexual partners of the same race, compared with other races/ethnicities, Black/African American gay and bisexual men are at greater risk of being exposed to HIV.