September 27th is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. HIV in the United States continues to disproportionately affect gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. In 2018, nearly 25,000 gay, bisexual of other MSM were diagnosed with HIV. In Texas, 70% of newly diagnosed people living with HIV in 2018 were gay, bisexual, or other men who have sex with men. The number of new diagnoses for gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men has not changed significantly in more than a decade in Texas.
To achieve our goal and end the HIV epidemic in Texas, more must be done to stop the continued transmission of HIV among gay men, while also recognizing the real lived experience of those men. Strategies must continue to be developed to empower gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men to live full and complete lives while reducing the chance of acquiring HIV.
A key strategy to ending the HIV epidemic in Texas and among gay/bi/MSM is wider use of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). Taken daily, PrEP prevents sexually active HIV negative men from contracting HIV if they are exposed. While PrEP use continues to increase each year, according to AIDSVU, only roughly 14,000 people in Texas were utilizing PrEP in 2018. Wider and easier access to PrEP will increase use, but we must also address the stigma and sexual shaming that exists in communities, and among gay/bi/MSM men in order to fully realize the benefits of PrEP.
For more information visit the CDC’s page highlighting HIV among gay/bisexual and other men who have sex with men