Today is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day

The Task Force joins in the commemoration today of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day to help raise attention to the critical issues faced by gay and bisexual men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), who are living with and at risk of HIV.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “although MSM represent approximately two percent of the U.S. population, in 2009, they accounted for 64 percent of all new HIV infections.”

Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of the CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and Tuberculosis Prevention says:

On National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, we honor the remarkable history of gay men’s leadership in the fight against the HIV epidemic. Three decades ago, extraordinary community and public health prevention efforts led to dramatic declines in new HIV infections among men who have sex with men. Yet infection rates are now increasing among young gay and bisexual men, particularly men of color. We must not allow another generation to be devastated by this disease. Together we can, and must, revitalize the passion and dedication that helped turn back the HIV epidemic among gay men during its darkest days.

Research and surveillance data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention remind us that gay and bisexual men remain at the epicenter of the U.S. HIV epidemic. HIV prevention, education and testing for men who have sex with men remain top CDC priorities. As part of CDC’s High Impact Prevention approach to fighting HIV, we are working to ensure resources are directed to the activities that will have the greatest impact in reducing the toll among gay and bisexual men, and other populations at highest risk.

One of the most important things every gay and bisexual man can do to stop the spread of HIV is to get tested for the disease at least once a year. If you test negative, you’ll have peace of mind and can redouble your efforts to stay safe. And if you test positive, you can get the medical care and support that you need to keep healthy and protect others from infection. It’s a simple, quick way to reduce the toll of HIV, and can ultimately help us to turn the tide in the fight against HIV and AIDS in America.

The National Association of People with AIDS founded National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day in 2008 to help gay and bisexual men remember how much we have accomplished together in the fight against HIV/AIDS, remember the quarter-million lovers and brothers we have lost, and renew our commitment to ending what is now an endable epidemic.

The Task Force has been fighting HIV/AIDS since the beginning, and Task Force Deputy Executive Director Darlene Nipper will be among those speaking today at a D.C. press conference related to National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. She will offer comments of reflection and urge participants to look toward a future of hope as we draw upon the lessons of the past to end the epidemic.

For more information on how to act on this National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, please go here, here and here.