September 8, 2017

HIV is Still an Epidemic Within the Gay and Bisexual African American Men Population

This article originally appeared on the Georgia State Signal website.

HIV and AIDS are a rising concern in the U.S., but the majority of those affected are in Georgia – more specifically, in Atlanta. The statistical demographics are telling a particular narrative, one that shows that bisexual African American men who are having sex with other men (MSM) are the ones most likely to contract HIV.

The epidemic

Center for Disease Control (CDC) spokeswoman Donnica Smalls said that while other demographics have been steadily decreasing, HIV rates in gay and bisexual men have not been showing the same trend.

“Gay and bisexual men were the only group that did not experience an overall decline in annual HIV infections from 2008 to 2014. Annual infections remained stable at about 26,000 per year. Infections were also stable among black gay and bisexual men, at about 10,000 per year,” Smalls said.

Although the infection rate for MSM has not decreased throughout the past years, it also has not increased, and according to Smalls, that’s a good sign.

“After more than a decade of increases, stabilization of incidence among gay and bisexual men is an encouraging sign, especially in the face of rising HIV prevalence which creates more opportunities for infection.”

The issue does not seem to lie in having sexual intercourse with the same gender, because according to Smalls, it is just rare to see cases of female-to-female transmission of HIV.

“Case reports of female-to-female transmission of HIV are rare. The well-documented risk of female-to-male transmission shows that vaginal fluids and menstrual blood may contain the virus and that exposure to these fluids through mucous membranes (in the vagina or mouth) could potentially lead to HIV infection,” Smalls said.

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