National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD) is observed each year on September 27 to direct attention to the continuing and disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS on gay and bisexual men in the United States.
This year’s theme,The Conversation About HIV Is Changing: Talk Undetectable. Talk PrEP., reminds us that advances in science have given us powerful tools that can help end new HIV infections in the United States.
HIV treatment is an example of one of these powerful tools. More than half (58%) of gay and bisexual men in the United States who have HIV have a suppressed viral load because they stay in care and stay on treatment as prescribed. People with HIV who take their HIV medicine as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load (or stay virally suppressed) have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to their HIV-negative partners through sex.
Another powerful tool is pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). For people who are HIV-negative but at very high risk for getting HIV, taking PrEP daily is highly effective for reducing the risk of getting HIV from sex by about 99%. PrEP is much less effective when not taken consistently.
Most Affected Population
Gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV, making up 70% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States and 6 dependent areas* in 2017. CDC data show new HIV diagnoses remained stable in recent years (27,000 in 2017) among gay and bisexual men overall. However, new diagnoses are falling among some age and racial/ethnic groups. While this is good news, we have work to do. New HIV diagnoses increased 18% among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men from 2010 to 2016 and 38% among black/African American† gay and bisexual men aged 25 to 34.
On NGMHAAD, keep the conversation going—remember to talk undetectable, talk PrEP! We also urge everyone to learn more about the proposed federal initiative, Ending the HIV Epidemic: A Plan for Americaexternal icon, which gives us hope that new HIV diagnoses can be dramatically reduced in the United States in the next decade. With today’s powerful data and tools, we can reduce and prevent new HIV infections and help people with HIV stay healthy.