In a study of hiv gay and bisexual men in 21 major U.S. cities, nearly one in five were found to be infected with the hiv virus, and nearly half of them did not know it, according to U.S. Health officials.
Young men are the least likely to know they are infected with the hiv virus, especially young black men, this according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
As part of the 2008 National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System study, 8,153 men in 21 cities who have sex with other men, looked at prevalence and awareness factors of the hiv gay and bisexual population.
The study found that among black men who have sex with other men 28 percent were infected with the hiv virus, compared with 16 percent of white men, and 18 percent of hispanic men. Dr. Jonathan Mermin, director of CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, said in a statement,
“For young men who have sex with men – including young men of color who are least likely to know they may be infected – the future is truly on the line,” he stated further….. “It is critical that we reach these young men early in their lives with HIV prevention and testing services and continue to make these vital services available as they become older.”
Education and income is a major factor among incidence of hiv gay and bisexual men in this particular group say the authors noting the lower a person’s socioeconomic status the more likely he was to have hiv, CDC researchers reported in the weekly CDC report on death and disease.
Another factor is age as to whether men know of their infection with hiv. Among those in the age group of 18 to 29 with hiv, a staggering 63 percent did not know of their hiv status, compared with 37 percent of men over the age of 30.
These statistics are especially troublesome because the CDC estimates people who do not know they are infected are the ones most likely transmitting new infections to others.
Gay and bisexual men should be tested each year by recommendations of the CDC, and the higher risk category of men who have sex with multiple partners or use drugs during sex should be tested every 3 to 6 months.