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New HIV Cases Rising Among Young NYC Men Who Have Sex With Men

Posted by pozlife on September 12, 2007

by 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: September 11, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET

(New York City) HIV infection is on the rise among young men who have sex with men in New York City, particularly among young blacks and Hispanics, according to preliminary data released Tuesday by the NYC Health Department.

New HIV diagnoses among MSM under age 30 have increased by 33 percent during the past six years, the agency reported today, from 374 in 2001 to almost 500 in 2006.

New diagnoses have doubled among MSM ages 13 to19, while declining by 22 percent among older MSM.

The under-30 group now accounts for 44% of all new diagnoses among MSM in New York City, up from 31% in 2001.

“We are very concerned about the increase in HIV among young men who have sex with men,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, Health Commissioner for New York City.

“We’re headed in the wrong direction. Unless young men reduce the number of partners they have, and protect themselves and their partners by using condoms more consistently, we will face another wave of suffering and death from HIV and AIDS.”

Blacks and Hispanics still bear a disproportionate share of New York City’s HIV burden the Health Department said.

Among all MSM, blacks received twice as many HIV diagnoses as whites in 2006 – 232 versus 101; and Hispanics received 55% more than whites – 157 versus 101.

The disparity is even more striking among adolescents; more than 90% of the MSM under age 20 diagnosed with HIV in 2006 were black or Hispanic – 81 out of 87.

“These numbers are devastating. After 26 years of AIDS, we cannot drift backward,” said Debra Frasier-Howe, president of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS.

“We must ask all New Yorkers to accept some responsibility for helping our young people protect themselves. Their lives are not dispensable.”

Tokes Osubu, executive director of Gay Men of African Descent said that reversing the trend “will require a new commitment to protecting this most underserved population.”

“We need an integrated approach across city agencies, social justice organizations and AIDS organizations, and a less judgmental approach by faith institutions,” said Osubu.

Every borough except Staten Island has seen HIV increase among MSM under 30 since 2001.

The largest increases occurred in Queens – 49 percent; and Manhattan – 57 percent. The increase in Manhattan was concentrated in East and Central Harlem, and in the Chelsea and Clinton areas.

The Department is working with community groups, medical providers, and others to promote risk reduction through reducing the number of partners and increasing the use of condoms.

The Department also distributes more than 3 million free condoms each month. The distinctive NYC Condom is available not only through Health Department clinics and community organizations but through retail establishments and entertainment venues, including bars, clubs and restaurants.

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