HIV and Gay and Bisexual Men: Viral Suppression

Viral suppression is one of the six Ending the HIV Epidemic in the U.S. indicators. Viral suppression refers to the percentage of people with diagnosed HIV who have less than 200 copies of HIV per milliliter of blood.

EHE goal: increase the percentage of people with HIV who have are virally suppressed to 95 percent by 2025.
graphic of a bottle of pills

It is important for women to know their HIV status so they can take medicine to treat HIV if they have the virus. Taking HIV medicine every day can make the viral load undetectable. People who get and keep an undetectable viral load (or remain virally suppressed) can stay healthy for many years and have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their sex partners.

Gay and Bisexual Men with Diagnosed HIV in 44 States and the District of Columbia, 2019
In 2019, for every 100 gay and bisexual men with diagnosed HIV, 68 were virally suppressed.

In 2019, for every 100 gay and bisexual men with diagnosed HIV, 68 were virally suppressed.

* Had 2 viral load or CD4 tests at least 3 months apart in a year.
† Based on most recent viral load test.
Source: CDC. Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 dependent areas, 2019. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2021;26(2).

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Many people with HIV may experience challenges with achieving and maintaining viral suppression over time. Some of these challenges include missing HIV medical appointments, needing but not receiving other important health care services, or missing doses of HIV treatment.

Missed HIV Medical Care Appointments Among Gay and Bisexual Men with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2019*
Staying in HIV care is important to achieving and maintaining viral suppression.

29 percent of women missed at least 1 medical appointment in the past 12 months compared to 24 percent of people overall.

* Among people aged 18 and older.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.

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Needed HIV Ancillary Care Services Among Gay and Bisexual Men >with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2019*†
HIV ancillary care services are essential for supporting people in staying in HIV care and maintaining viral suppression.

The top 3 services gay and bisexual men not receiving in the past 12 months: dental care, SNAP or WIC, and mental health.

Nearly half (45%) of all people with HIV needed at least 1 HIV ancillary care service in the past 12 months.

* Among people aged 18 and older.
HIV ancillary care services, such as case management and mental health services, are services that support retention in HIV care.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.

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HIV Treatment Among Gay and Bisexual Men with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2019*
Taking HIV medicine consistently and as prescribed is the best way to achieve and maintain viral suppression.

58 percent of women reported taking all of their HIV medicine over the last 30 days compared to 59 percent of people overall.

* Among people aged 18 and older.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.

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Depression and Anxiety Among Gay and Bisexual Men with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2019*
People who experience symptoms of depression or anxiety may face challenges maintaining viral suppression.

22 percent of gay and bisexual men experienced symptoms of depression and anxiety compared to 22 percent of people overall.

* Among people aged 18 and older.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.

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Homelessness Among Gay and Bisexual Men with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2019*
People who experience homelessness may find it difficult to get HIV care and treatment.

8 percent of gay and bisexual men reported homelessness compared to 9 percent of people overall.

* Among people aged 18 and older.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.

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Median HIV Stigma Scores Among Gay and Bisexual Men with Diagnosed HIV in the US, 2019*
36 percent of gay and bisexual men with HIV experienced stigma.

NOTE: Ten-item scale ranging from 0 (no stigma) to 100 (high stigma) that measures personalized stigma, disclosure concerns, negative self-image, and perceived public attitudes about people with HIV.
* Among people aged 18 and older.
Source: CDC. Medical Monitoring Project.

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Deaths

In 2019, there were 8,253 deaths among gay and bisexual men with diagnosed HIV in the US and dependent areas. These deaths could be from any cause.

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  2. CDC. Estimated HIV incidence and prevalence in the United States, 2015–2019 pdf icon[PDF – 3 MB]. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report 2021;26(1).
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