Young Gay And Bisexual Men’s Partners Are More Likely To Have And Transmit Hiv
The prevalence of HIV in gay and bisexual communities creates a bit of a vicious cycle: since HIV is more common among men who have sex with men, a gay or bisexual man is much more likely to contract HIV from his partner and, as a result, spread the disease even further to other men.
The issue here is partly biological. The most popular sexual act among men who have sex with men anal sex is simply much more likely to spread HIV than vaginal sex.
These problems are further driven by a lack of knowledge, particularly among young men. A CDC survey of high school students found nearly 60 percent of young people with HIV are unaware of their infection, which makes them much less likely to take the proper precautions.
The demographics, forms of transmission, and lack of awareness work together so gay and bisexual men are a lot less likely to get away with other issues, such as risky sexual practices, that increase their exposure to HIV.
Risk Of Hiv Transmission With Condom Use
In addition to looking at effectiveness, you can also look at data on HIV risk. In other words, out of everyone reporting a certain type of condom use, and/or a certain type of sex, how well do condoms work?
Here are those HIV incidence rates . You can see that always using condoms comes with the lowest risk for HIV infection for all types of sex.
How Do I Get Tested For Hiv
Most often, a technician or doctor will draw blood from your vein and check it to see if there are antibodies for HIV. You can also test other body fluids — oral fluid or urine — but these aren’t as sensitive or accurate as traditional blood tests. Some rapid screening tests can give results in 20-60 minutes.
Current blood tests can find both antibodies and a part of the virus itself. These could give a positive result as soon as 3 weeks after HIV exposure.
Home testing kits found at drugstores are really home collection kits. You prick your finger with a special device, place drops of blood on a specially treated card, and then mail the card in for testing at a licensed lab.
If any of these screening tests say you’re positive, follow up with a doctor and more testing to confirm it.
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Does Hiv Viral Load Affect Getting Or Transmitting Hiv
Yes. Viral load is the amount of HIV in the blood of someone who has HIV. Taking HIV medicine daily as prescribed can make the viral load very lowso low that a test cant detect it .
People with HIV who take HIV medicine daily as prescribed and get and keep an undetectable viral load have effectively no risk of transmitting HIV to an HIV-negative partner through sex.
HIV medicine is a powerful tool for preventing sexual transmission of HIV. But it works only as long as the HIV-positive partner gets and keeps an undetectable viral load. Not everyone taking HIV medicine has an undetectable viral load. To stay undetectable, people with HIV must take HIV medicine every day as prescribed and visit their healthcare provider regularly to get a viral load test. Learn more.
Younger Men Weren’t Around For The Height Of The Hiv/aids Epidemic
Among men who have sex with men, the youngest population saw the largest increase in annual HIV diagnoses by far. But the change in HIV diagnoses varied among older age groups.
“I don’t think it’s really clear why we’re seeing different patterns across different age groups,” Lansky says. “But we do know some of the things that I think in particular are affecting the younger men.”
One explanation commonly voiced by other HIV/AIDS experts and advocates is that younger populations are less likely to know the dangers of the disease, because they weren’t around during the height of the HIV epidemic in the 1980s and early 1990s. During this era, the disease quickly spread throughout the world, and few treatment and prevention options were known. The disease ravaged the gay community in particular, infecting and killing millions.
Older gay and bisexual populations who lived through the height of the HIV epidemic do appear more likely to practice safe sex, based on CDC data for HIV-negative or HIV-unknown men in 20 US cities with a high prevalence of HIV/AIDS. About 60 percent of under-40 gay and bisexual men said they had anal sex without a condom in the past year. Only half of gay and bisexual men 40 and older reported having anal sex without a condom in the same time span.
“I don’t think it’s really clear why we’re seeing different patterns across different age groups”
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I Wouldnt Treat Someone Differently If They Told Me They Had Hiv Or Aids
This may be true, but the reality is that most people will have some sort of emotional response to someone telling them they have HIV or AIDS. This is then reflected in how we treat the person, often involuntarily. How would you feel if it was a colleague, a close friend, or a relative? Society’s prejudices have an effect on all of us, consciously and subconsciously, and it often doesnt help to deny that these influences exist.
The best tools for countering negative reactions are knowledge, self-awareness, and understanding that someone disclosing their HIV status to you takes a great deal of courage and trust on their part.
Does Hiv Affect Gay And Bisexual Men
In the United States, gay and bisexual men are the population most affected by HIV. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention , in 2019, adult and adolescent gay and bisexual men accounted for 69% of the new HIV diagnoses in the United States and dependent areas.
In the United States, gay and bisexual men are the populationmost affected by HIV.
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Hiv And Aids: An Origin Story
When HIV first began infecting humans in the 1970s, scientists were unaware of its existence. Now, more than 35 million people across the globe live with HIV/AIDS. The medical community, politicians and support organizations have made incredible progress in the fight against this formerly unknown and heavily stigmatized virus. Infection rates have fallen or stabilized in many countries across the world, but we have a long way to go.
Image via aids.gov. The WHO estimates that 97 percent of the world’s HIV positive population lives in low income nations where anti-viral treatments are scarce or unavailable.
S Hiv/aids: Why Was Aids Called The Gay Plague
The early years of AIDS were a time of great fear and anxiety for gay men around the world.* The bulk of this was generated by the mysterious and lethal nature of this new condition. But there was another element that exacerbated the situation the homophobia whipped up by irresponsible media. Central to this was the sustained use of the terms gay plague and gay bug when referring to AIDS.
Yet AIDS was never a plague and the notion that it was somehow a consequence of a persons sexual orientation was discounted just over a year after the disease was first identified. Nonetheless, media usage of the term increased rather than decreased in the face of this evidence.
The Oxford English dictionary defines a plague as either:
A contagious bacterial disease characterized by fever and delirium, typically with the formation of buboes
A contagious disease that spreads rapidly and kills many people.
Even in the earliest days of its manifestation, it was clear that the disease was not spread by the type of casual contact with which plagues are spread. On , the US Centers for Disease Control explicitly identified all major routes of transmission as well as ruling out the possibility of transmission through casual contact:
Nonetheless, this did not stop headlines such as The StarsKiss of Death or The SunsIts spreading like wildfire. . *
A Gay Disease?
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Men Who Have Sex With Men Hiv And Aids
- There are biological, behavioural, legal, and social and cultural factors which put men who have sex with men 27 times more at risk of HIV compared with the general population.
- Many countries have made significant progress in recognising the rights of LGBTQ people, while in other countries punitive laws and homophobia create additional barriers for men who have sex with men when accessing HIV prevention, testing and treatment services.
- Despite growing evidence of the effectiveness of PrEP in preventing new infections among men who have sex with men, access remains limited.
- Globally, more funding is required to support targeted HIV prevention, testing and treatment programmes for men who have sex with men.
Explore this page to find out more about what factors put men who have sex with men at risk of HIV, prevention programmes, testing initiatives, using technology, access to antiretroviral treatment, barriers to prevention and the way forward for men who have sex with men.
Globally, gay men and other men who have sex with men are 27 times more likely to acquire HIV than the general population.1 New diagnoses among this group are increasing in some regions – with a 17% rise in Western and Central Europe and a rise of 8% in North America between 2010 and 2014.2
Hiv Myth: You Can Tell Who Has Hiv Because They Will Seem Sick
One of the most difficult aspects of recognizing HIV is the lack of symptoms, which is what has made the epidemic into, well, an epidemic. Yet some people still believe that those with HIV will seem sick,like having flu-like symptoms or lesionsso having sex with someone who seems perfectly healthy presents no risk. Unfortunately, that’s not the case.
Especially early on, theres rarely an indication of infection, says Dr. Rebick. Thats why its important to get tested if youre sexually active and have multiple partners, or if youre an IV drug user. Or, really, anyone.
The CDC recommends all adults get screened for HIV at least once, and people at higher risk, like sexually active gay men, at get re-screened at least annually.
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Hiv Myth: Only Gay Men And Iv Drug Users Get Hiv
This particular myth is curiously persistent, according to Gabriel Rebick, M.D., specializing in infectious disease and immunology at NYU Langone Health.
I see a lot of heterosexuals who thought they couldnt get HIV, and thats obviously not true, he says.
The risks are higher people who have anal sex, the most transmissive way to get HIV. Thats because the lining of the rectum is thin and can develop micro-tears that allow HIV-infected semen to enter the bloodstream. People who use IV drugs are also a high-risk group since they can share needles, and even a small amount of blood from one person to the next can cause infection.
But that doesnt mean everyone else is in the clear. In fact, a 2016 report from the CDC found that heterosexuals accounted for 25 percent of the new HIV cases in 2010. And of the number of new heterosexuals infected in that year, 34 percent of them were men.
The Number Of New Infections Has Increased By 72% In Eastern Europe And Central Asia
Although HIV incidence has declined in many countries, there are several regions where an increase in rates is noted. For instance, the number of HIV-infected people has increased by 22% in the Middle East and North Africa, HIV transmission statistics reveal, and by 21% in Latin America since 2010.
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Gay And Bisexual Men Make 69% Of New Hiv Cases In The Us
Center for Disease Control HIV statisticsreveals that 24% of new HIV-positive individuals were infected through heterosexual sex, while 7% got the virus through injection drug use. One of the most common misconceptions is that only gay people can get HIV. In fact, anyone who has intercourse without a condom or shares needles can become infected with HIV.
The Confluence Of Homophobia Racism And Economic Inequalities
For gay and bisexual men of color, the effects of sexual orientation discrimination on HIV risk may be confounded and exacerbated by other powerful structural factors, including racism, lack of access to economic means, and poverty . HIV in the United States has disproportionately affected racial/ethnic minorities and the poor for decades . Thus, the synergistic social conditions of homophobia, racism, and poverty likely explain the even higher incidence of new HIV infections among racial ethnic minorities, particularly Black and Latino gay and bisexual men . In a study of Latino men, Diaz et al. identified positive relations between risky sexual behaviors and the participants experiences of homophobia, racism, and financial instability. Mays, Cochran, and Zamudio revealed similar findings in a study of gay, bisexual and other MSM.
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Causes Of Hiv Infection
HIV is found in the body fluids of an infected person. This includes semen, vaginal and anal fluids, blood and breast milk.
It’s a fragile virus and does not survive outside the body for long.
HIV cannot be transmitted through sweat, urine or saliva.
The most common way of getting HIV in the UK is through having anal or vaginal sex without a condom.
Other ways of getting HIV include:
- sharing needles, syringes or other injecting equipment
- transmission from mother to baby during pregnancy, birth or breastfeeding
The chance of getting HIV through oral sex is very low and will be dependent on many things, such as whether you receive or give oral sex and the oral hygiene of the person giving the oral sex.
Condom Effectiveness For Men Who Say They Always Use Condoms
The estimated effectiveness of condom use for gay men with HIV-positive partners is 70%but only for those who report always using condoms. This is pretty good protection from HIVand certainly less robust protection than that offered by PrEP when taken daily.
This is estimate is slightly less than the effectiveness reported for heterosexuals who always use condoms .
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How Can I Tell If I Have Hiv Are There Symptoms
Many people who have HIV don’t have any symptoms at all for many years. The only way to know if you’re infected is to get tested.
Don’t wait for symptoms to show up. If you find out you’re infected soon after it happens, you’ll have more options for treatment and care to help prevent you from getting sick.
Young Gay And Bisexual Men Are More Likely To Engage In Risky Sexual Practices
The two most basic steps to preventing an HIV infection, beyond abstinence, are to limit the number of sexual partners and use a condom. But research shows young gay men are much less likely to practice safe sex.
The CDC survey of high school students found that sexually active male students who have sex with men are both less likely to use a condom and more likely to have had sex with four or more partners during their lifetime than male students who had sex with only women.
As the chart above shows, these trends are dramatic: young men who had sex with men were roughly 50 percent more likely to report having four or more partners than young men who only had sex with women, and nearly twice as likely to report not using a condom during their last sexual encounter.
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How Is Hiv Spread From Person To Person
HIV can only be spread through specific activities. In the United States, the most common ways are:
- Having vaginal or anal sex with someone who has HIV without using a condom or taking medicines to prevent or treat HIV. Anal sex is riskier than vaginal sex.
- Sharing injection drug equipment , such as needles, with someone who has HIV.
Less common ways are:
- From mother to child during pregnancy, birth, or breastfeeding. However, the use of HIV medicines and other strategies have helped lower the risk of mother-to-child transmission of HIV to 1% or less in the United States.
- Getting stuck with an HIV-contaminated needle or other sharp object. This is a risk mainly for health care workers. The risk is very low.
HIV is spread only in extremely rare cases by:
- Having oral sex. But in general, the chance that an HIV-negative person will get HIV from oral sex with an HIV-positive partner is extremely low.
Are You At High Risk
PrEP is a medication that is recommended for people who are at a high risk of HIV transmission. Some of the leading causes of HIV transmission include:
- Engaging in unprotected sex with a partner who is HIV positive or whose HIV status is unknown.
- Engaging in unprotected sex with partners who have additional sexual partners.
- Having unprotected sex if you have been diagnosed with an STI.
- Sharing needles or syringes.
The only way HIV can be transmitted to another person is through contact with blood, semen, or vaginal fluids. It is also important to note that uncircumcised males are at a slightly higher risk of contracting HIV since they are more prone to bacteria and infections. There is evidence that male circumcision can also reduce the risk of HIV transmission.
Homosexual and bisexual males are typically at a higher risk of contracting HIV. The transmission rate through anal sex is more than ten times greater than through vaginal intercourse. Receptive anal sex also has a higher transmission rate, meaning that the risk of HIV transmission is higher for bottoms than for tops.
However, this does not mean that tops are not at risk as the insertive partner may also contract HIV through anal intercourse. So, whether you are a top, a bottom, or versatile, you could be at a high risk of HIV transmission, and you should consider taking PrEP.
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