Since the HIV/AIDS epidemic first hit the U.S., it has deeply and disproportionately impacted the gay community. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, men who have sex with men (MSM) account for nearly half of the more than one million people living with HIV in the U.S.; they account for more than half of all newly infected people in the U.S. each year; and they’re diagnosed with HIV at a rate more than 44 times that of heterosexual men.
This year, at the XVIII International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2010) in Vienna, the MSM community — both U.S.-based and globally — was a topic of serious conversation. However, there were complaints from leaders that it was not enough. According to George Ayala, executive officer for the Global Forum on MSM and HIV, MSM-related presentations took up a measly 2 percent of all presentations given at AIDS 2010. That’s better than four years ago when MSM were almost invisible, he said, but clearly not nearly enough presence given how disproportionately the epidemic affects this group of men.
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