“Don’t forget about HIV.”
That’s the message from 35 community leaders, including the Massachusetts Commission on LGBT Youth, who recently 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."
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.
Meanwhile, 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.
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.
The RISE report also outlines a detailed action plan with nearly 40 "evidence-based recommendations” to reduce the impact of HIV on Black gay and bisexual men. 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.
You can learn more about both of these reports, along with much more, in the latest issue of the HIV Health Disparities Update, a joint project of the AIDS Action Committee and the New England AIDS Education and Training Center Minority AIDS Initiative Project.