HIV and African American Gay and Bisexual Men

Black/African Americana gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with menb are more affected by HIV than any other group in the United States. In 2017, black/African American gay and bisexual men accounted for 26% (10,070) of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses and 37% of new diagnoses among all gay and bisexual men in the United States and dependent areas.c,d

The Numbers

HIV Diagnosese

Infographic text reads of the 38,739 new HIV diagnoses in the US and dependent areas in 2017, 10,070 were among adult and adolescent black/African American gay and bisexual men. Black/African American gay and bisexual men made up 37 percent of HIV diagnoses among all gay and bisexual men. Three out of four black/African American gay and bisexual men who received an HIV diagnosis were aged 13-34.

Alt text for the chart, New HIV Diagnoses Among African American gay and bisexual men in the US and Dependent Areas by age and race/ethnicity, 2017: 13-24: white=1,247, black/African American= 3,450, Hispanic/Latino=1,705,  Asian=184, 25-34: white=2,511, black/African American= 4,088, Hispanic/Latino=3,178,  Asian=271, 35-44: white=1,460, black/African American= 1,331, Hispanic/Latino=1,578,  Asian=167, 45-54:white=1,445, black/African American= 778, Hispanic/Latino=918,  Asian=106, greater than 55: white=945, black/African American= 424, Hispanic/Latino=342,  Asian=39.

Hispanics/Latinos can be of any race.

Subpopulations representing 2% or less of HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men are not reflected in this chart.

Source: CDC. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2017 pdf icon[PDF – 6 MB]. HIV Surveillance Report 2018;29.

From 2010 to 2016, HIV diagnoses remained stable overall among black/African American gay and bisexual men in the 50 states and the District of Columbia. But trends for HIV diagnoses among black/African American gay and bisexual men varied by age.d

Alt text for trend chart: HIV Diagnoses Among black/African American gay and bisexual men in the US and Dependent Areas, 2012-2016: black/African gay and bisexual men overall=stable; black/African gay and bisexual men by age: 13-24=down 5 percent; 25-34= up 38 percent; 35-44=down 23 percent; 45-54=down 33 percent: 55 and older: stable.

CDC. NCHHSTP AtlasPlus. Accessed July 24, 2019.

Living With HIV

Chart title reads Adult and Adolescent black/African American gay and bisexual men with HIV in the 50 States and District of Columbia. At the end of 2016, an estimated 225,200 black/African American gay and bisexual men had HIV; 8 in 10 knew they had the virus. For every 100 black/African American gay and bisexual men with HIV in 2016: 75 percent received some care, 59 percent were retained in care 57 percent were virally suppressed. Footnotes read as follows: Had 2 viral load or CD4 tests at least 3 months apart in a year; based on most recent viral load test.

Source: CDC. Estimated HIV incidence and prevalence in the United States 2010–2016 pdf icon[PDF – 3 MB]HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2019;24(1).

Source: CDC. Selected national HIV prevention and care outcomes pdf icon[PDF – 2 MB] (slides). Accessed September 25, 2019.

Deaths

In 2016, there were 2,406 deaths among black/African American gay and bisexual men with diagnosed HIV in the US. These deaths may be due to any cause.d

Prevention Challenges

Stigma, homophobia, and discrimination put gay and bisexual men of all races/ethnicities at risk for multiple physical and mental health problems and affects whether they seek and are able to receive high-quality health services, including HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services. In addition to stigma and other risk factors affecting all gay and bisexual men, several factors are particularly important for African American gay and bisexual men. These include the following:

Icon of African American male with question marks above his head appears before text that reads Lack of awareness of HIV status.

Lack of awareness of HIV status. People who don’t know they have HIV cannot get the medicine they need to stay healthy and prevent transmitting HIV to their partners. Therefore, they may transmit the infection to others without knowing it.

Icon of partial image of doctor with a clock in the background appears before text that reads Timely linkage to HIV medical care.

Timely linkage to HIV medical care. According to a recent MMWR, only 67% of HIV-positive 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.

Icon three vials of blood appears before text that reads Low percentages of viral suppression.

Low percentages of viral suppression. 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, African American gay and bisexual men are at greater risk of being exposed to HIV.

Icon of a doctor’s bag appears before text that reads Socioeconomic factors.

Socioeconomic factors. The poverty rate is higher among African Americans than other racial/ethnic groups. The socioeconomic issues associated with poverty—including limited access to high-quality health care, housing, and HIV prevention education—directly and indirectly increase the risk of HIV infection for some African American gay and bisexual men and may also affect the health of people who have HIV.

What CDC Is Doing

CDC and its partners are pursuing a high-impact prevention approach to maximize the effectiveness of current HIV prevention interventions and strategies among African American gay and bisexual men. Funding state, territorial, and local health departments is CDC’s largest investment in HIV prevention.

  • Under the strategic partnerships and planning cooperative agreement, CDC will fund a national organization to support integrated HIV programs through the development of strategic national partnerships and enhanced communication efforts. This funding opportunity will also provide funding to health departments to engage community partners in a planning process to help develop jurisdictional Ending the HIV Epidemic plans.
  • In 2017, CDC awarded nearly $11 million per year for 5 years to 30 CBOs to provide HIV testing to young gay and bisexual men of color and transgender youth of color, with the goals of identifying undiagnosed HIV infections and linking those who have HIV to care and prevention services.
  • Under the integrated HIV surveillance and prevention cooperative agreement, CDC awarded around $400 million per year to health departments for HIV data collection and prevention efforts. This award directs resources to the populations and geographic areas of greatest need, while  supporting core HIV surveillance and prevention efforts across the US.
  • In 2019, CDC awarded a cooperative agreement to strengthen the capacity and improve the performance of the nation’s HIV prevention workforce. New elements include dedicated providers for web-based and classroom-based national training, and technical assistance tailored within four geographic regions.
  • Under the flagship community-based organization cooperative agreement, CDC awarded about $42 million per year to community organizations. This award directs resources to support the delivery of effective HIV prevention strategies to people at greatest risk.
  • Through its Let’s Stop HIV Together (formerly Act Against AIDS) campaign, CDC provides African American gay and bisexual men with effective and culturally appropriate messages about HIV testing, prevention, and treatment. For example,
    • Stop HIV Stigma highlights the role that each person plays in stopping HIV stigma and gives voice to people living with HIV, as well as their friends and family.
    • Doing It motivates all adults to get tested for HIV and know their status.
    • Start Talking. Stop HIV. focuses on gay and bisexual men and encourages open communication between sex partners and friends about HIV prevention strategies.
    • HIV Treatment Works shows how people with HIV have been successful getting care and staying on treatment.
    • Partnering and Communicating Together (PACT) raises awareness about testing, prevention, and retention in care among populations disproportionately affected by HIV, including African American gay and bisexual men.

To learn more about a range of health issues affecting African American gay and bisexual men, visit the CDC Gay and Bisexual Men’s Health site.

a 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. This fact sheet uses African American, unless referencing surveillance data.

b The term male-to-male sexual contact is used in CDC surveillance systems. It indicates a behavior that transmits HIV infection, not how individuals self-identify in terms of their sexuality. This fact sheet uses the term gay and bisexual men.

c Unless otherwise noted, the term United States includes the 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the 6 dependent areas of American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands, Puerto Rico, the Republic of Palau, and the US Virgin Islands.

d Includes infections attributed to male-to-male sexual contact and injection drug use (men who reported both risk factors).

e HIV diagnoses refers to the number of people who received an HIV diagnosis during a given time period, not when the people got HIV infection.

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