In 1981, the very first report on AIDS detailed five cases in gay white men. It left out a sixth case: that of a gay black man. The doctor behind the report now says that exclusion "might've made a difference." The HIV rate in gay and bisexual black men in America is higher than that of any country in the world. The New York Times, in an eye-opening report, calls it "one of America's most troubling public-health crises." Swaziland has the highest HIV rate in the world at 28.8%. The lifetime risk of HIV diagnosis in the US is about 1%. But according to the CDC, if current trends hold, the HIV rate for gay and bisexual black men in America will reach 50%. The problem is worst in the South. Already in Jackson, Mississippi, the HIV rate among gay and bisexual men is 40%.
In 2003, Congress passed a $15 billion plan to fight HIV/AIDS in Africa. There was no such funding or plan for black Americans fighting the disease. A 2014 study found it would take an extra $2.5 billion to make actual progress on the crisis affecting America's gay and bisexual black men. But that's not likely to happen; in fact, the situation will almost assuredly get worse. The Trump administration disabled the Office of National Aids Policy website and proposed cutting the CDC's funding for HIV/AIDS prevention, testing, and support by $186 million. There are fears that abolishing ObamaCare will return the country to a time of an HIV medication waiting list that is thousands of people deep. Read the full story here to put a personal face on the crisis. (Read more Longform stories.)