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Minority AIDS Council Issues A Call To Action In STD Battle

A new data analysis released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) shows a stark disparity in rates of HIV and syphilis among men who have sex with men (MSM) relative to the rest of the U.S. population. The rate of HIV diagnoses among MSM is more than 44 times that of other men, and more than 40 times that of women. MSM syphilis infection rates are high as well; 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women.

Unfortunately, these disparate rates of HIV and syphilis infection are not surprising. The AIDS community was unable to adequately educate the public about HIV/AIDS during the eight years of the Bush Administration, which emphasized abstinence-only approaches to health education. Research has demonstrated that these methods do not to work, and limited discussion of condom use in federally-funded forums. These situations, compounded with existing social and cultural stigmas around sexuality – and homosexuality in particular – helped fuel the increase in HIV and syphilis incidence in the MSM community.

To adequately address the situation, the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) recommends the following: 

  • Realistic Funding Levels: Reducing the impact of HIV/syphilis among MSM and stopping new infections will require increased funding. We support the recommendation from the CDC’s professional judgment budget, and ask for an increase of $877 million for federal HIV/AIDS prevention programs.

  • Additional Research: The study released by the CDC addresses MSM, as identified based on behavior – whether a man surveyed engaged in sexual activity with another men within a certain time period. The study shows the need for more comprehensive research specifically on people who identify themselves as gay, bisexual and transgender, and needs to discern whether age, race, sexual practices and regional variances are factors in HIV and syphilis transmission.

  • Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Community Voices Needs to Be Included: As the federal government moves forward to address HIV in the MSM community, it is critical that the diverse voices of the LGBT community be included. We need to be at the table as an active partner to review the research, programs and prioritizing of challenges.

  • Everyone Needs to Prioritize Gay Men: Everyone committed to addressing HIV/AIDS needs to prioritize gay men. This includes LGBT organizations, elected officials, social clubs, policymakers, businesses, social justice agencies, businesses and the general public. This is not just a problem impacting MSM; it is everyone’s problem.

About NMAC
The National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) builds leadership within communities of color to address challenges of HIV/AIDS. Since 1987, NMAC has advanced this mission through a variety of programs and services, including: a public policy education program, national and regional training conferences, a treatment and research program, numerous publications and a website: http://www.nmac.org/. Today, NMAC is an association of AIDS service organizations providing valuable information to community-based organizations, hospitals, clinics and other groups assisting individuals and families affected by the AIDS epidemic. NMAC's advocacy efforts are funded through private funders and donors only. 

For more information, call NMAC directly at (202) 483-NMAC (6622) ext. 309 orcommunications@nmac.org. Visit the agency online at http://www.nmac.org/, as well as onhttp://www.facebook.com/ and on http://www.wikipedia.com/. Pictures and video clips from past NMAC events are available from MyPhotoAlbum.com (nmacpics.myphotoalbum.com/), and YouTube.com (http://www.youtube.com/commnmac), respectively. 

Contact: Circe J. Gray Le Compte, Director of Communications
National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC) * 1931 13th Street NW, Washington, DC 20009
Telephone: (202) 483-6622 ext. 309 * E-mail: 
communications@nmac.org * Web:www.nmac.org 



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