September 18, 2007

There's a Surge In New AIDS Cases Among Gay New Yorkers

From PinkNews:

New York City health officials have released a report saying HIV infection rates have risen substantially among young gay men over the last six years.

According to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene report, new HIV diagnoses among gay men under 30 have increased by 33 percent in that time, with the majority of new cases showing up in black and Latino gay men.

Unfortunately, the report didn't offer any explanations for why rates of HIV infection have risen among gay youth.

One reason for the increase, according to Dr. Donna Futterman, director of the adolescent AIDS programme at the Children's Hospital at Montefiore, could be that minority teens may feel they have to hide their sexual orientation.

"The pressure of covering up means you put yourself in riskier situations than if you could go on a date and ask out who you like," Futterman told the Associated Press.

New York City Health Commissioner Thomas Frieden was more critical in his response to the report. "

A generation of men is growing up having not seen their friends die of AIDS, and maybe having the impression that HIV is not such a terrible infection," Frieden said in a statement.

Unless they practice safer sex, he added, "we will face another wave of suffering and death from HIV and AIDS."

Minorities already have enough going against them, they don't need to expose themselves to additional risk. Perhaps it's time to take some education efforts into areas that are heavily black or Latino and make sure young men understand that, while AIDS is no longer a death sentence, it is a disease still not to be trifled with.

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