Michael Crawford

HIV Infections Rise Among NYC Young Gay Men

Filed By Michael Crawford | January 02, 2008 1:01 PM | comments

Filed in: Living
Tags: gay men, gay sex, HIV prevention, HIV/AIDS, NYC

While HIV infection rates in NYC appear on the decline, HIV infection rates among young gay/bi men are on the rise.

The number of new H.I.V. infections in men under 30 who have sex with men has increased sharply in New York City in the last five years, particularly among blacks and Hispanics, even as AIDS deaths and overall H.I.V. infection rates in the city have steadily declined.

New figures from the city’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene show that the annual number of new infections among black and Hispanic men who have sex with men rose 34 percent between 2001 and 2006, and rose for all men under 30 who have sex with men by 32 percent.

This increase occurred even as the number of HIV/AIDS among older gay men in NYC fell by 22% during the same period.

HIV Young Gay Men NYC.jpg

These numbers are not only a serious indictment of the failed governmental response to HIV infections among young gay men, but also point out the ineffectiveness of the overly cautious approaches to HIV prevention taken by HIV/AIDS organizations dependent on government money. What is clear is that the constant bleating from right-wing hypocrites about abstinence-only programs and the restrictions attached to government funding for HIV prevention are damaging to the lives of young gay men. There is no way around it. The evangelical moralists, who are quite often lacking in morals, and the cynical power hungry politicians of both parties who crave their attention and votes do not give a damn about the sexual health of gay men and could care less if we all become infected with HIV.

In the absence of innovative programming that empowers young gay men to more effectively navigate issues of sex, love, intimacy, relationships and their meanings we are left with useless slogans like "use a condom every time" that have about as much relevance to gay men lives as a Dr. Seuss book.

We can and we must do better to protect young gay men from HIV.


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Perhaps it's time we start focusing on HIV/AIDS again and blink occasionally on the topic of gay marriage? Maybe?

Brent Hartinger | January 2, 2008 3:45 PM

It's not just the government that has failed; it's our community. Since they don't even claim to care about it, I condemn us more, I think. Mostly, I'm appalled by the casual approach to unsafe sex on the part of so many of us, the erotization of it on the internet, in porn, etc., with apparently no backlash, no outraged condemnation from the rest of us. I guess it's more important for some of us to get off.

Also, I'm not sure why "use a condom every time" is such a useless slogan, a la Dr. Seuss. It seems like pretty good advice to me. And given these stastics, it seems more relevent than ever.

Jim Pickett | January 3, 2008 8:37 AM

A couple of thoughts --- we need to address gay men's health needs holistically, and not defer to HIV/AIDS. I believe that treating ourselves as whole human beings, with plenty of complexities above the navel, will bring about better health outcomes for all that concerns us, including but not limited to HIV.

Two - why are we as gay men seemingly satisfied with one way to protect ourselves during sex? Why do we think "use a condom every time" is enough?

How would you feel if you went into Starbucks and you had one choice - coffee. Period. Just plain, old coffee. Would we have people screaming in the streets?

Well, we need more options to protect ourselves. How about rectal microbicides? See www.IRMWG.org for more info on this new prevention technology, which is currently in the research and development phase.

Okay, and three. We can't divorce societal and structural issues that put some of us at greater risk than others. It isn't always about simply using a condom - it is also about homophobia, stigma, poverty, homelessness, substance use/abuse, mental and emotional health, loneliness, hunger, lack of access to health care, lack of insurance, etc....

It will never be enough to simply address HIV/AIDS among gay men by focusing on the area between the navel and the knee.

Jim

Michael Crawford Michael Crawford | January 3, 2008 10:16 AM

Jim,

I agree with that we need to take a broader approach to improving the lives and health of gay men. And not just young gay men, gay men of all ages, races, ethnicities and socio-economic backgrounds. That's part of the reason that I love the work that you are doing with Life Lube.

One of the hopes that o have for the new year is that gay men join together to create new and innovative approaches to promoting and advocating for gay men's health.

iam realy like to be gaaaaayyyy