National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: Fighting Stigma, Homophobia, and Homo-Hatred
September 27, 2012 – In solidarity with our brothers across the country the U.S. Positive Women’s Network, a project of WORLD, commemorates America’s fourth National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). This year’s Awareness Day is dedicated to greater awareness and education about HIV within the gay community as well as rededication to fighting the stigma, racism, transphobia, homophobia and homo-hatred that exists throughout the nation as well as within the gay community thereby driving the HIV epidemic.
Gay and bisexual men shoulder a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic making up well over half of new HIV infections. In particular, for young gay men of color the growth in rates of HIV infection are astounding and unacceptable. HIV rates for young black gay men aged 13–29 increased by 48% in 2009 and by 45% for young Latino men aged 13-29. This is a national emergency and must be treated as such.
These are our sons, our brothers, our neighbors and our friends. We cannot let young men of color remain invisible in this epidemic. Rather we must work together to raise all of our voices so that every community’s unique needs are addressed and our human rights protected.
The U.S. Positive Women’s Network stands with our allies in our collective fight for social justice and human rights to improve all people’s lives and offers the following recommendations:
• Ensure comprehensive, non-heterosexist, age appropriate, sex and sexuality education is available in all schools.
• Address provider stigma and discrimination to increase access to high-quality and culturally competent care and prevention for gay, bisexual, and transgender men and boys.
• Uphold each man’s right to health by addressing all health conditions – not just HIV. These conditions include, but are not limited to mental health, the impact of violence and trauma, substance use, the effects of external and internalized homophobia, trans-specific care, and other male-specific health issues.
• Uphold health care reform, which will allow people under 26 to remain on their parent’s health insurance and allow more young men access to affordable and quality health care.
• Commitment to social, behavioral, and biomedical research on health concerns that affect gay, bisexual, and transgender men, especially young men of color.