April #143 : Male Call - by Bob Ickes

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April 2008


Male Call

by Bob Ickes

What’s causing the HIV spike among men who have sex with men?

Last year, two reports showed increases in HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM). The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) said the MSM caseload had risen by 13 percent over the previous four years. A few days later, the National HIV Conference said black MSM are seven times more likely than white MSM to be infected—though no more likely to have high-risk sex.

JAMA offered various explanations: complacency among men who haven’t lived through ’80s and early-’90s AIDS horrors; slack testing; and prevention “fatigue.”

The black MSM data came from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Gregorio Millett and colleagues found a large discrepancy between sexual risk taking and HIV rates in black MSM. Explanations include: many black MSM have sex only with black MSM; black MSM are less likely to be on HAART; and the late stage at which black MSM learn their status.

Rayford Kytle, a POZ reader from Washington, DC, points out: “That issue of JAMA included a piece by prevention experts calling for ‘the end of stigma toward MSM.’” Then there’s good old-fashioned education and awareness.


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