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Gay Men Remain Largest Group With HIV In Florida

Posted by pozlife on November 15, 2007

111407hby 365Gay.com Newscenter Staff

Posted: November 14, 2007 – 3:00 pm ET

(Fort Lauderdale, Florida) A new report suggests that traditional safe sex messages are having little effect in stemming the rate of HIV/AIDS in Florida. The state Health Department says that one in every 22 gay and bi men is HIV-positive, and in South Florida the rate is much higher.

In Broward County, which encompasses Fort Lauderdale, one in every 11 gay white men is estimated to be positive. For gay Black men the rate it is 1 in 17. The results were similar for Dade County, which includes Miami and South Beach, and for Palm Beach County.

Florida has one of the highest infection rates for HIV in the country, and the new report shows no progress in lowering it.

The state already knew that 82,000 people have been diagnosed with HIV and of those 34,500 are gay men but the Health Department says this first time those numbers have been correlated to the community at large.

To arrive at the percentages the department assumed that 10 percent of the male population is gay or bi.

LGBT activists said the report shows education methods are not working. They called for a new look at how to reach gay and bi men.

They also said that many gay men have hit HIV information overload, becoming complacent in the wake of new drugs that give people with HIV a near normal life span.

"There’s no gay man who doesn’t know having unprotected sex can lead to HIV," Christopher Lacharite of the Palm Beach LGBT group Compass told the Sun-Sentinel.

"But sometimes they ignore it, and that’s what we have not been able to address," Lacharite said.

Last summer Fort Lauderdale mayor Jim Naugle angered gays by criticizing the county tourist board for marketing to gays.

The conservative Democrat said that the county had the highest rate of new HIV/AIDS cases and that it was fueled by gay tourists.

Naugle also claimed that gay sex is rampant in public washrooms on the beach and called for the city to spend a quarter-million dollars on a replacement toilet that he said would end the problem. (story)

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