The CDC announced findings stating that Gay/Bi men and MSMs contract HIV/AIDS at a rate 50 times higher than the general populace. Allow me to repeat that statistic: Gay men get HIV/AIDS fifty times more often than straight folk. Previously, the CDC has not made comparisons like this in the past, but would rather use raw numbers of new infections to illustrate the spread of the disease.
CDC official Dr. Amy Lansky announced today at a plenary session of the National HIV Prevention Conference the CDC's finding that, in the United States, gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have AIDS at a rate more than 50 times (that's right, FIFTY TIMES) greater than women and non-gay/bi men. This confirms in emphatic terms that of all the disparities and disproportionate impacts in the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the United States, the greatest one is the extraordinarily disproportionate impact on gay and bisexual men -- of all races and ethnicities-- though the most disproportionate impact is on African American gay, bi and other MSM. As incidence estimates released by CDC last year revealed, MSM constitute more than half of all new cases of HIV and are the group in which the number of new cases each continues to slowly increase. What's new today is that the CDC has calculated *rates* of HIV/AIDS prevalence among MSM, not just raw numbers. Lansky says the CDC estimates that there were 692.2 new HIV cases in 2007 per 100,000 MSM. Having a rate as well as the raw numbers allows comparisons for the first time to other population groups at risk, such as women and heterosexual men.
This is sobering news for all us queer folk. After everything our community has been through, with the initial spread of the HIV/AIDS epidemic during the 80s, and the gargantuan PR and safe sex education efforts these past twenty years have left us with this number. Gay/Bi men and MSMs still make up more than half of all new HIV infections. That's over 50% of new HIV infections coming from roughly 5% of the population.
Use a damn condom, people. Or, god forbid... have less sex.