September 27: National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
September 26, 2011 - September 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. Launched in 2008 by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA), this day is intended to “raise gay men’s awareness of the HIV epidemic and the role they can play in bringing it to an end.”
Gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) remain particularly vulnerable to infection. In August, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that MSM were the only population to see an increase in HIV infections between 2006 and 2009, according to the first multi-year estimates of domestic HIV infections. The same report found that while gay men represent only two percent of the U.S. population, they accounted for 61% of all new HIV infections in 2009.
“We have known for a long time that gay men─especially gay men of color─are particularly vulnerable to HIV infection, but this report confirms that the epidemic is becoming even more severe in these groups,” said Kevin Robert Frost, CEO of amfAR
New developments in AIDS research offer promising new tools for prevention. In November 2010, for example, the Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Initiative announced the results of its clinical trials, which demonstrated that a combination of two antriretroviral drugs could significantly reduce the likelihood of HIV infection among men who have sex with men. amfAR has called for a new paradigm in HIV prevention for gay men─one that addresses not only safer sexual behavior but also stigma and discrimination as well as access to treatment.
NAPWA will commemorate the fourth annual observance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day with a prayer breakfast, press conference, and all-day HIV testing in Washington, D.C.