HIV infection has a disproportionately greater impact on homosexuals and men who have sex with men in the US, according to data published by the Centers for Disease Control and Surveillance (CDC) in the USA.
The researchers calculated that the rate of new HIV infections among homosexuals and bisexuals is 44 times higher than that seen in other men, and about 40 times higher than in women.
Recently analyzed data also showed that syphilis rates are up to 71 times higher among homosexual and bisexual men compared to other population groups.
"It is clear that we will not be able to stop the HIV epidemic in the USA until all infected communities, along with health officials around the world, prioritize the needs of homosexual and bisexual men with HIV prevention efforts," commented Dr Kevin Fenton of the CDC.
Homosexuals are responsible for 48% of the million HIV infections in the USA. The only group in which new diagnoses are increasing is that of men who have sex with men, which in 2006 included 53% of all cases of HIV infection in the country.
CDC data, presented at the 2010 National STI Prevention Conference, showed that there were about 522 to 989 new infections per 100 gay and bisexual men each year, compared with 000 per 12 among other men and 100 per 000. among women.
This means that the rate of new HIV infections was about 44 times higher among gay and bisexual men than in other groups.
The rate of syphilis was calculated between 73 to 91 cases per 100 in homosexual and bisexual men, about 000 times the rate of two per 48 seen in other men, and 100 times that of one per 000 seen in men. women.
CDC data also revealed the uneven impact of HIV infection on different populations of homosexual and bisexual men.
The highest number of new HIV infections among homosexuals in 2006 involved Caucasian homosexuals (12), followed by black homosexuals (230).
Among Caucasian homosexuals, the majority of new infections were in men aged 30 (4670), followed by those aged 40 to 49 (3740).
A different age profile was observed in black homosexuals. New infections were disproportionately located between 13 and 29 years old (5200).
The researchers found that the prevalence of HIV infection among homosexuals in some urban centers reached 25%. In addition, about 50% of men were unaware of their infection, with this number rising to 80% among some younger homosexual populations.
The CDC believes that the complex interplay of several factors is increasing HIV infection among homosexuals.
Most important is the high prevalence of HIV among homosexuals. This means that each sexual encounter increases the risk of exposure to the virus. Researchers believe that homosexual relationships between young blacks and older men may also lead to an increased risk.
The large number of undiagnosed infections among homosexuals is also believed to contribute to the spread of HIV.
Complacency is also advanced as an explanation. The CDC stated that this is the case for the majority of young homosexuals who have not “personally experienced the severity of the first AIDS epidemic.”
However, this type of reasoning does not explain the large number of new HIV infections among men between 30 and 50 years old.
Advances in HIV treatment have led, according to the CDC's perception, some homosexual men to develop the “false belief” that “HIV is no longer a serious health issue.”
The difficulty in having safe sex throughout life is also suggested as a contributory factor.
Homophobia and other forms of discrimination, which can prevent men from accessing health care and prevention services, are also, according to the CDC, factors that contribute to the spread of HIV among homosexuals, as well as high levels of use. drugs.
"The risk of HIV transmission through receptive anal sex is much greater than the risk of transmission through other sexual activities, and some homosexual and bisexual men rely on prevention strategies that may be less effective than consistent condom use," commented the CDC.
They stressed that many of the syphilis infections in homosexuals are likely to be transmitted via oral sex.
"There is no single or simple solution for reducing HIV and syphilis infection rates among gay and bisexual men," said Fenton. "We need to step up prevention efforts that are as diverse as the community itself." Solutions for homosexual and bisexual youth are urgent, so that HIV does not inadvertently become a ritual of passage for each new generation of homosexuals. ”
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