44 pct of gay, bisexual men with HIV don't know it

Sep 23, 2010 By MIKE STOBBE , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- One in five sexually active gay and bisexual men has the AIDS virus, and nearly half of those don't know they are infected, a federal study of 21 U.S. cities shows.

Experts said the findings are similar to earlier research, but the study released Thursday is the largest to look at gay and bisexual U.S. men at high risk for HIV. More than 8,000 men were tested and interviewed, and 44 percent of those who had the virus didn't know they had it.

Overall, less than half of 1 percent of Americans have the AIDS virus, according to a calculation by the Kaiser Family Foundation, a research and policy organization in Washington, D.C.

But gay and bisexual men continue to be infected at much higher rates, said Jennifer Kates, Kaiser's director of global health and HIV policy.

"We don't have a generalized epidemic in the United States. We have a concentrated epidemic among certain populations," she said.

That's why a new national AIDS strategy, unveiled by the White House in July, is emphasizing more of a government focus on men who have sex with men and others at the highest risk of getting infected, Kates said.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends HIV testing at least once a year for all men who have sex with men and are sexually active, but research indicates more than half don't get tested.

An earlier study in just five cities in 2004-05 found similar results.

The new study, conducted in 2008, included 16 additional cities. Researchers offered free testing to the men, interviewed them and paid around $25 for their participation.

Black men were more likely to have HIV, with 28 percent reportedly infected, compared to 18 percent of Hispanic men and 16 percent of white men.

Black men were also least likely to know they were infected - about 60 percent didn't know they had HIV - compared 46 percent of Hispanic men and 26 percent of whites.

Explore further: We need a cure for HIV but there's still a long way to go

More information: CDC report: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr

5 /5 (1 vote)
add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Study says few prisoners contract HIV

Apr 21, 2006

A study refutes the widely held perception that blames U.S. prisons for the spread of the AIDS epidemic, saying very few prisoners acquire the virus.

High HIV infection rate among Soweto Township gays

Aug 31, 2009

New research from UCSF examining HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the township of Soweto in South Africa has found that a third of gay-identified men are infected with HIV.

L.A. billboards say AIDS a 'gay' disease

Oct 02, 2006

Stunning passersby, billboards have sprung up around Southern California declaring, "HIV is a gay disease," adding the tag line "Own It; End It."

Circumcision doesn't protect gays from AIDS virus

Aug 25, 2009

(AP) -- Circumcision, which has helped prevent AIDS among heterosexual men in Africa, doesn't help protect gay men from the virus, according to the largest U.S. study to look at the question.

Recommended for you

User comments : 0