According to recent reports from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 sexually active gay and bisexual men in America are HIV-positive and 44% of them are unaware of it.
For the study, the CDC tested more than 8,000 self-identifying gay and bisexual men (or, as the researchers call them, MSM, for ‘Men who have Sex with Men’) in the 21 American cities with the highest infection rates.
The gay population in Baltimore had the highest rates of HIV infection, at 38%, while Atlanta scored lowest, at 6%. The highest number of infections was seen in white MSM, primarily those between the ages of 30 to 39. However, young black gay and bisexual men (aged 13 to 29) had the highest rates of HIV infection per capita, and young Hispanic MSM also had disproportionately high rates of infection.
The HIV infection rate in heterosexual black women is higher than in their white or Hispanic counterparts, and even higher than rates in Hispanic gay men. HIV infection was also the leading cause of death for black women aged 25 to 34. 81% of American women living with HIV are black women.
The CDC estimates that more than 1 million people are living with HIV in the U.S., and that 21% are unaware of their infection. 18,000 people with AIDS still die each year. An estimated 56,300 Americans become infected each year.
The CDC findings fall close to the third National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day being observed Monday.