HIV Rate Could Hit 50% for Gay and Bisexual Black Men in US

HIV rate for gay, bisexual black men in US higher than any country in world
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 7, 2017 2:48 PM CDT
HIV Still a Crisis for America's Gay and Bisexual Black Men
Community advocates in Baton Rouge protest outside of City Hall against the defunding of two local community HIV clinics in April. HIV rates among gay and bisexual black men in America are worse than those of any country in the world.   (Tyler Kaufman/AP Images for AIDS Healthcare Foundation)

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. (More Longform stories.)

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