LGBT Leaders Call on Community to Recommit to Fight Against AIDS

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aidsaction_smBy: Eric Brus*—

Last month, the leaders of 35 LGBT and HIV/AIDS organizations issued a joint letter committing themselves and their organizations to re-engaging the broader LGBT community in the fight against HIV. The letter notes that while the LGBT community has made great strides during the past 30 years in the movement toward full equality, it “hasn’t maintained the same momentum in our fight against HIV.” Despite the continued alarmingly high rates of HIV infection among gay and bisexual men and transgender women, attention to the HIV epidemic “has seemed to fall by the wayside. Many in our community have simply stopped talking about the issue. This must change.”

The letter urges members of the LGBT community to take the following actions:

  • If you are a policy maker, fight to protect and expand HIV treatment and prevention programming and fight to stop HIV criminalization at the federal, state, and local level.
  • If you are an LGBT organization, be sure to speak to your constituents about the continued toll this epidemic has on our community.
  • If you’re an LGBT donor, support causes that support the health of the community.
  • Get tested, know your status, and join the fight to end this epidemic.

“The LGBT community always has been at the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic. As the community most impacted in the nation, we are the ones who must step up and recommit to ending future transmissions,” noted Kate Kendell of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “To have a new generation of LGBT young people grow up free from HIV and AIDS will be a fitting legacy to those we have lost to this disease.” [pullquote]”To have a new generation of LGBT young people grow up free from HIV and AIDS will be a fitting legacy to those we have lost to this disease.”[/pullquote]

New report lists nearly 40 ways to reduce HIV among black gay and bisexual men

A new report from the National Minority AIDS Council, RISE Proud: Combatting HIV Among Black Gay and Bisexual Men, provides an overview of the heavy burden of HIV on Black gay and bisexual men, and an in-depth look at three major factors that contribute to this burden:

  • high incarceration rates among young Black men and HIV criminalization laws;
  • social determinants, including substance use, poverty, discrimination, and homelessness, which place Black gay men at risk for infection and poor health outcomes; and
  • structural barriers that limit Black gay men’s access to healthcare and treatment.

The report also provides a detailed action plan with nearly 40 “evidence-based recommendations to address the most pressing challenges posed by America’s criminal justice system, structural barriers to health care access, and the role that social determinants play in health outcomes.”

New HIV infections in young Black gay men rose 48% between 2006 and 2009, according to the report. Although Black gay and bisexual men make up less than 1% of the total U.S. population, they accounted for more than 22% of all new HIV infections. And in 2011, the estimated number of new HIV infections among Black gay and bisexual men for the first time surpassed the number of new infections among White gay and bisexual men. Previous studies have also shown that the health outcomes of Black gay men are significantly worse than those of their White counterparts.

As a complement to the action plan, NMAC has launched a new website – www.BlackMenRISE.org – which provides plain-language resources to help Black gay and bisexual men manage their overall health, including sexual health.

New reports worth reading 

A Holistic Approach to Addressing HIV Infection Disparities in Gay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men. American Psychologist.

Venue-Based Affiliation Networks and HIV Risk-Taking Behavior Among Male Sex Workers. By K. Fujimoto, M.L. Williams, and M.W. Ross, in Sexually Transmitted Diseases.

Social Support Network Characteristics and Sexual Risk Taking Among a Racially/Ethnically Diverse Sample of Young, Urban Men Who Have Sex with Men. By F. Kapadia, D.E. Siconolfi, S. Barton, B. Olivieri, L. Lombardo, and P.N. Halkitis, in AIDS and Behavior.

A Randomized Trial of a Behavioral Intervention for High Risk Substance-Using MSM. By S.P. Kurtz, R.D. Stall, M.E. Buttram, H.L. Surratt, and M. Chen, in AIDS and Behavior.

HIV/AIDS Stigma: Measurement and Relationships to Psycho-Behavioral Factors in Latino Gay/Bisexual Men and Transgender Women. By Y. Molina, and J. Ramirez-Valles, in AIDS Care.

Older Sexual Partners May Contribute to Racial Disparities in HIV Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men. By B. Mustanski and M.E. Newcomb, in Journal of Adolescent Health.

“Becoming Bold”: Alcohol Use and Sexual Exploration Among Black and Latino Young Men Who Have Sex with Men (YMSM). By M.G. Mutchler, B. McDavitt, and K.K. Gordon, in Journal of Sex Research.

Stigma Towards PLWHA: The Role of Internalized Homosexual Stigma in Latino Gay/Bisexual Male and Transgender Communities. By J. Ramirez-Valles, Y. Molina, and J. Dirkes, in AIDS Education and Prevention.

Can Additive Measures Add to an Intersectional Understanding? Experiences of Gay and Ethnic Discrimination Among HIV-Positive Latino Gay Men. By C.A. Reisen, K.D. Brooks, M.C. Zea, P.J. Poppen, and F.T. Bianchi in Cultural Diversity and Ethnic Minority Psychology.

Utilization of HIV Prevention Services Across Racial/Ethnic Groups Among Men Who Have Sex with Men in San Francisco, California, 2008. By H.M. Scott, V. Fuqua, and H.F. Raymond, in AIDS and Behavior.

Gender Affirmation: A Framework for Conceptualizing Risk Behavior Among Transgender Women of Color. By J.M. Sevelius, in Sex Roles.

Could FDA Approval of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Make a Difference? A Qualitative Study of PrEP Acceptability and FDA Perceptions Among Men Who Have Sex with Men. By K. Underhill, K.M. Morrow, D. Operario, and K.H. Mayer, in AIDS and Behavior.

Retention in Care and Health Outcomes of Transgender Persons Living With HIV. By B.R. Yehia, J.A. Fleishman, R.D. Moore, and K.A. Gebo, in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The Relationship Between Online Social Networking and Sexual Risk Behaviors among Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM). By S.D. Young, G. Szekeres, and T. Coates, in PLoS One.

*Eric Brus is the Director of HIV Health Promotion of AIDS Action Committee. This report is produced by the Health Library of the AIDS Action Committee in collaboration with the New England AIDS Education and Training Center Minority AIDS Initiative Project. The full version is available online

 

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