It’s estimated that 15% of men who have sex with men are currently living with HIV. And while we’re making strides in the battle against the virus, infection rates among young gay/bi men have skyrocketed by 133% in just the past decade.
In 2014, they accounted for 83% of all new HIV diagnoses among men aged 13 and older and 67% of the total new diagnoses in the U.S.
Today, we have tools to help those living with HIV to lead long and healthy lives. Chief among them is education—so whether you think you know everything about the Human Immunodeficiency Virus, or are embarrassed that you don’t, we’ve laid out the facts we should all know.
Getting tested is the only way to know if you are HIV-positive. You can find free and confidential HIV testing locations at AIDS.gov.
The World Health Organization recommends gay men consider PrEP, a once-daily pill that helps protect against HIV, in addition to using condoms.Getty
When taken as prescribed, PrEP has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection to almost zero.
Treatment And Resources
A 2017 study found that HIV-positive people receiving proper treatment have roughly the same life expectancy as HIV-negative people.
Ongoing antiretroviral treatment can lower the amount of HIV in the blood to undetectable levels, significantly lowering the chance of infection. This year, the CDC finally agreed that the virus can’t be transmitted by persons whose viral load is undetectable.
Deciding when to share your status is a personal decision—though in states with mandatory disclosure laws it can be a legal one, as well. Choose a time and place where you feel comfortable and not distracted. For more best practices, visit Greater Than AIDS.
And find resources on treatment, staying healthy, support, and more from the CDC.
Offer support and speak out: Don’t treat people with HIV any different than you would people who are negative, and don’t just stand by if others make AIDSphobic comments. You can also get involved in the HIV Equal campaign or volunteer at a local organization like Gay Men’s Health Crisis in New York, the AIDS Foundation of Chicago or AIDS Project Los Angeles.
Stay informed with ongoing coverage of HIV/AIDS on NewNowNext.