The second of a two-part series examining the high rates of new HIV infection among Black gay and bisexual men. Part 1 described the new data detailing the dramatic increases in new infections, examined some of the reasons driving the numbers and described the CDC’s new social-marketing initiative, designed to encourage testing among Black MSM.
In light of the persistent increase in new infections among MSM (men who have sex with men)–and despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s new testing initiative–a consensus has emerged among prominent Black gay men who have leadership positions in HIV/AIDS policy, prevention and public health: A larger investment is needed from public and private sources, as well as a more "holistic" approach to Black gay men’s sexual health.
"It’s a question of dollars," says A. Cornelius Baker, senior policy adviser of the Washington, D.C.-based National Black Gay Men’s Advocacy Coalition (NBGMAC), which delivered a forceful set of recommendations in response to the CDC’s incidence report. Across the federal bureaucracy, "there is not a sufficient investment in line with the scope of the epidemic in Black and Latino gay populations," he says.
"The CDC must increase funding to organizations providing services to young MSM and transgender [people] of color from $9 million to $14 million," says Baker, who is also board chair of the Black AIDS Institute. "Five years after its initial commitment, the numbers are worse, and their investment remains at $9 million. That makes no sense."
Among NBGMAC’s additional recommendations: increased funding, capacity building in Black gay organizations, continuing HIV education for medical professionals, high-level consultations with Black gay men and research on how to lower the viral load in MSM communities of color.
Extending Advantages, Reducing Stigma
Other prominent MSM agree with NBGMAC’s call for a more comprehensive approach to the multiple health, economic and social disparities that Black MSM experience, particularly those in the under-30 demographic, which is experiencing the greatest increase in new infections.
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