In 2014, the CDC reported 54 percent of all HIV cases in the South, a region disproportionately affected by the disease, are comprised of black men.
A new study titled “The Silent Epidemic: Black Gay Men and HIV” paints a harsh picture that defines a need for further outreach and support of the gay community across racial lines. While these men are being diagnosed, the study says only 6 percent of these diagnostics come from tests provided in health care facilities, and 36 percent are provided in non-health care facilities. Therefore, Southern healthcare facilities are not reaching gay black men at a proportionate rate.
“Although black men who have sex with men (or MSM) received 6 percent of the HIV tests provided, they accounted for 36 percent of the new diagnoses in non-health care facilities,” the study found.
The study also addresses the effect this lack of outreach could have on HIV transmission in the South.
“Black MSM in the southern United States are the group most affected by HIV, but only a small percentage of CDC tests in the southern United States are provided to this group,” the study continued. “Increasing awareness of HIV status through HIV testing, especially among black MSM in the southern United States, is essential for reducing the risk for transmission and addressing disparities.”
Concluding, the study urged the continuance of testing in agencies that can provide healthcare, even if they are nontraditional. This way, the appropriate testing can reach a higher number of those who need it.
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