National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men make up an estimated 2% of the United States population but accounted for a staggering 61% of new HIV infections in 2009, according to CDC data.
Today—the fifth annual National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day—is a day to face this sobering statistic and resolve to change it, say San Francisco AIDS Foundation CEO Neil Giuliano and John Barnes, Executive Director of Funders Concerned about AIDS.
“It’s clear that now is not the time to slow our efforts in the fight against HIV. It’s clear that we need to do more to fight stigma, homophobia, isolation, and poverty—all drivers of new HIV infections,” observe Giuliano and Barnes in an editorial published today on the Huffington Post.
The piece also highlights ways gay and bi men can take care of their health and that of their community—for example, by getting tested for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections every six months, and by volunteering with organizations working to end the epidemic.
“Just as we did in the beginning,” Giuliano and Barnes emphasize, “it’s time to band together, rise up, and fight even harder as we approach the finish line and cross it together, as united as we were thirty years ago.”
See below for an excerpt from this moving editorial, as well as links to selected resources for gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men.
It was first known as the “gay cancer.” Then GRID, the gay-related immune deficiency. Then AIDS, the acquired immune deficiency syndrome. Recently a young gay male friend asked what the acronym “AIDS” stood for. He didn’t know.
Thirty years of loss, confusion, and heartache, particularly for gay men, who still bear the brunt of this disease today. And because they do, we must continue to teach and remember. Since we first discovered AIDS, close to 300,000 gay men—fathers, sons, brothers, lovers—have been lost to the disease.
But in the face of this terrible epidemic, particularly in the gay community, we found strength and power in life-saving purpose; we became more. Together, we rose up, we fought, and we redefined empowerment….
- Many Shades of Gay: Make your own avatar and set up HIV testing reminders at this fun site with a simple message: No matter what you’re into, get an HIV test every six months.
- Magnet: This gay men’s health and community center in San Francisco’s Castro neighborhood offers testing for HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, community events, and user-friendly online articles about sexual health and happiness.
- HIV/AIDS Resource Center for Gay Men: Find a wealth of articles, expert opinions, personal stories, and forums at this resource center on TheBody.com.
- HIV Testing Sites & Care Services Locator: See an interactive map of the HIV testing and care sites nearest you with this easy-to-use locator produced by AIDS.gov.