Gay, bisexual black men at high risk for HIV
July 19th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Gay, bisexual black men at high risk for HIV

Only one in 500 Americans is a black gay or bisexual male, but black men who have sex with men (MSM) account for one in four new HIV infections in the United States, according to a new report by the Black AIDS Institute (BAI).

Just days away from the first International AIDS Conference to be held on U.S. soil in 22 years, the BAI, a national think tank focused on African-Americans, released a somber account detailing how the virus continues to disproportionately infect and kill young black men who have sex with other men.

Save lives: End the HIV stigma

According to the report, "Back of the Line: The State of AIDS Among Gay Black Men in America 2012" a black gay man has a one in four chance of becoming infected by the time he's 25 years old. By the age of 40, the likelihood is 60%.  It also says black men having sex with men are more affected by the disease than any other group in the developed world.

"Black MSM continue to be first in line when it comes to need, but remain at the back of the line when it comes to assistance," said Phill Wilson, founder and executive director of the Black AIDS Institute. "This report not only highlights the gaps and why they still exist after 30 years, but it also provides a blueprint for how to close the gaps and move those most at risk up to the front."

The number of gay black men with HIV is twice that of gay white men, the report found.  In fact, in New York City, cited as one of the three best cities to live in for gay black men, they are 488 times more likely than other males, and 325 times more likely than black heterosexual males, to be diagnosed with the disease.  Three years after an AIDS diagnosis, black MSM are less likely to still be alive than their white or Latino counterparts.

And even though the report suggests black men are more likely to take steps to reduced their risk of infection than other MSM, the are still twice as likely to get the virus.

BAI's research also found that health disparities often impede access to health care, and found black MSM are 7 times more likely to have undiagnosed HIV than other gay men.

The Institute is calling for more testing, a scale-up of antiretroviral therapy, a plan to combat homophobia, and the introduction of pre-exposure prophylaxis (also known as PrEP) where the uninfected partner of someone with HIV gets on drug therapy as well.  Recent studies show that PrEP can lower the rate of HIV transmission up to 96%. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently approved the drug Truvada for this use.

BAI is also calling for the implementation of a national plan to end AIDS in African-American gay and bisexual men.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), African-Americans overall carry the heaviest burden of HIV.  The latest CDC statistics show blacks make up only 14% of the population but have 44% of all new infections.  In fact, in 2009 - the most recent data - MSM made up 73% of all new infections in all black men.  MSM between the ages of 13 and 29 saw more new infections than any other age and racial group of MSM.

Rep. Maxine Waters (D-California) has been a Congressional leader in the fight to end the spread of HIV/AIDS, and has introduced several pieces of legislation to increase research, screening, treatment and funding.

"Current policies do not adequately address the unique needs of black MSM in America.  Local and national leaders must remain vigilant in the fight against AIDS, especially in the black community, which continues to carry the heaviest burden," Waters said. "Unless we change the way we do business, we cannot reverse the epidemic.  No one should be forced to the back of the line."

soundoff (75 Responses)
  1. E Connelly

    Well no S*** Sherlock, I could have told you that without a college degree. And the gays want to give blood without any investigation into their lifestyle. No How, No Way.
    I would rather die, then to get HIV/AIDS from someone who chooses a partner of the same sex. It is not natural no matter how many times they spin it.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:13 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Charlie


      ALL blood that is used for transfusion is tested for HIV: it doesn't matter who donated it. If YOU donate blood, it will be tested for HIV and AIDS. The gay ban is completely obsolete.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:45 | Report abuse |
    • boo

      burn in hel

      July 19, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse |
    • Steven

      @Boo, really? Is that necessary? Nobody here needs to burn in hell, especially not for simply supporting everyone being able to donate blood.

      However, put simply, everyone SHOULD be able to donate blood. It goes through a CRAZY screening process, so there's a very minimal chance of something unpleasant getting through. There's no difference between "Gay Blood" and "Hetero Blood."

      July 19, 2012 at 13:03 | Report abuse |
    • Belle2004

      the whole reason why there is a ban on gays donating is because HIV doesn't always show up right away. If someone lives a high risk lifestyle they are more likely to have HIV then the rest of the population. If they contracted HIV right before donating it might not show up. It really is just playing odds because non-gays can have it too, but gays are just more likely.

      July 19, 2012 at 18:28 | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy9

      Belle is correct. However I will also point out that black women have a significantly higher chance than white women to contract HIV.

      Following this logic should we allow heterosexual black women to donate blood?

      July 20, 2012 at 10:55 | Report abuse |
    • Paul Montagna

      Most BIGOTS are ignorant people, so I guess YOU DO NEED a college degree to understand this. I've seen how irrationally discriminating white folks are against same white folks for this or that reason. so I must be dreaming to think that SOME people would show a little bit, just a tad compassion towards their fellow human beings. Some even enjoy self appointing Judges and pass sentence on others partners. Some better show overflowing bursts of love towards dogs than from others. Good luck to ya.

      July 22, 2012 at 01:32 | Report abuse |
    • FiveLIters

      So by your logic,if someone who 'chooses' a partner of the -opposite- sex has HIV/AIDS,donates blood,and you get it,you're fine with that?


      July 27, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse |
  2. Wisewon

    Hate that for them!

    July 19, 2012 at 11:16 | Report abuse | Reply
  3. Charlie

    At some point, I am not sure when, the statement of the obvious became science and, thus, newsworthy.

    No comment on the blatant racism

    July 19, 2012 at 11:19 | Report abuse | Reply
  4. montani42

    All I can say is thank God.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
  5. montani42

    An abomination to God results in bad things happening.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • B

      Let's wait and see what reality has to say about this matter, though, and not such a destructive lifestyle choice like religion.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:51 | Report abuse |
    • Char

      OK, I get that. I think the failure to couinmmcate was from my not seeing the writing of papers as an end in itself. I saw the paper as an attempt to persuade, and that attempt as being likely undermined by the selection of contributors. But if you view the publication of papers as an end in itself, then yes, the discrimination isn't a problem.

      September 11, 2012 at 13:21 | Report abuse |
  6. wyattbuchanan

    Typical CNN reporting. State the obvious and add 2500 words.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
  7. JDW

    So, would this qualify as a "dangerous health trend"? Or a "health epidemic that must be addressed"?

    Or is that only for fat people who like Mountain Dew? Or does that only qualify for smokers?

    Are their any plans by the Michael Bloomberg types to insist on lessening and curbing the amount of gay sex men are allowed to have? Or is obesity and smoking more the sort of dangerous elective human behaviors that must be controlled?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:29 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Wisewon

      Well spoken! Good point!

      July 19, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse |
  8. Accountable Citizen

    And in other breaking news, Dolly Parton sleeps on her back.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:31 | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Johnw

    This is news?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:33 | Report abuse | Reply
  10. kai winding

    this article did not explain exactly WHY it is that black men are more prone to AIDS.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:34 | Report abuse | Reply
  11. Moe

    "Unless we change the way we do business, we cannot reverse the epidemic...

    How about telling the blacks to change the way they act? But of course, BET/NAACP/Jesse/Sharpton, etc. won't ever allow it.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • FiveLIters

      Honestly,every HIV prevention ad I have ever seen,with the exception of a few in DC,show some 'Magic Mike'-looking built White guy on it. If you don't direct your advertising to whom you think is affected,why would they think they have to worry about it? Just like,if gay men are having all this s.x,why do the Viagara commercials always show hetero couples?

      July 27, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse |
    • Dee

      How about not being so gullible. Humanity is the ONLY race and across the board – humans act like humans. You can find gays, straights, drunks, sobers, druggies, cleans, WHATEVER in ALL cultures. Bad behavior is across the board – and there are ALWAYS consequences IN EVERY CULTURE! Wake up! You're not in heaven, yet!

      August 2, 2012 at 01:56 | Report abuse |
    • Milica

      Wishing you guys at Pangea Seed a successful eixobithin this week. The word can't spread fast or far enough. Plant them seeds y'all. From the Great Lone Star No Finning State of Texas, Unkl Nutzzy and Friendz

      September 11, 2012 at 13:36 | Report abuse |
    • Anthony

      Sadly, I will not go to another show in pseorn due to the terrible stage lighting at the Boston show. We were sitting in which should have been fantastic seats but could not see the majority of the dancing because of the blinding stage light which hit right at eye level. I did like the format of this show compared to last year's show though.

      September 14, 2012 at 02:10 | Report abuse |
  12. the truth

    So gays and bisexual black men can't wear a condom?

    July 19, 2012 at 11:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • B

      Most do: it's the irresponsible ones that ruin it for everyone else. No different than any straight guy or girl.

      July 19, 2012 at 11:46 | Report abuse |
  13. cyberhackster

    "Current policies do not adequately address the unique needs of black MSM in America" - Aren't we special ! !

    July 19, 2012 at 11:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Craig Doug

      Stupidity is not a unique need, is it?

      July 19, 2012 at 11:57 | Report abuse |
  14. John Buchanan

    For the wages of sin is death

    July 19, 2012 at 11:49 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jesus

      That's right, so I hope you aren't eating any figs.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:00 | Report abuse |
  15. F Thomas

    I think the math is skewed to begin with. For only "one in 500 Americans (to be) a black gay or bisexual male," with blacks making up 14% of the population, would mean only one in every 32-33 black males is gay or bisexual. I would bet based on personal experience that number is at least two to four and certainly not one. I don't think those estimates of 2-4% of the black male population being gay or bi is accurate, because it's based on surveys. I think that 8% number of Gary Gates is more accurate... although we'll never really know I guess.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:52 | Report abuse | Reply
  16. Craig Doug

    Isn't this a "Duh" article. Afterall HIV/AIDS started in the Black community when one guy got a little lonely in the jungle and decided to get frisky with a pre-evolved version of himself.

    July 19, 2012 at 11:53 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Levi

      thats an idiots story for idiots to believe. HIV was lab created

      July 20, 2012 at 17:18 | Report abuse |
  17. Theo

    Stigma is the reason why the Black Community not just the Black Gay Community is affected drastically. in the black community, we are reactive rather proactive when it comes to our health. We usually go to the Doctor when something wrong rather than just for a simple check up. Reason is because of health care cost, but that another topic.

    I have came across several people, as a Black Gay man living with HIV, who won't even talk to me because of my status. My own Mother told me she will not even kiss a man if he was HIV +, but yet still encourage me to date and marry women and have children.

    Coming to sexual relations, may claim to use protection every time, but the moment when one reveal their "positive" status, that's a deal breaker. Sure, people have the right to protect themselves and be selective. However it does hurt when one is honest about their status, undetectable, and very proactive about their health, to only be rejected and realize that their people out there who will lie about their status.

    No one likes the feeling of rejection. That why they lie. That why most are in denial and refuse to to get tested. Call HIV/AIDS a "Gay" disease all you want, but Sitgma is universal and very real.

    Even if (and this is totally hypothetical and not my view point whatsoever) you were to "eliminate" LGBT from society, that still will not get rid of the disease. In fact, all organism will eventually evolve and adapt to a new environment,nature have proven time and time again. Do you not think that HIV/AIDS will mutate? It has before. not only there are multiple strands, but it has been found in cats(where are my cat owners/lovers) and prime mates. Do the research, its there. It has also been say that humans can carry an inactive/dormant viruses/bacteria.

    Think about it the next time you call HIV/AIDS a Gay disease or result of a drug problem.

    By the way, the black community has a history with drug/alcohol abuse. Statistic prove this.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:00 | Report abuse | Reply
    • grikdog

      Theo hang in there buddy.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:04 | Report abuse |
    • Ken

      Theo: Great..... You have it completely right.

      July 19, 2012 at 12:44 | Report abuse |
    • Levi

      Theo? Theo Huxtable?

      July 20, 2012 at 17:23 | Report abuse |
  18. thatguy

    I just want to point out that the photo used for this article is clearly a male and a Female

    July 19, 2012 at 12:03 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Serkan

      I am in complete SHOCK that you are not going to be in Portland this year!!! My dutehagr, best friend and myself have gone for the past 4 years! We plan for this all year..watch and cast our votes and this year our special STTYCD trip is not going to happen! I don't get it! No West Coast shows????? How can this be?? What are you thinking?? Please add Portland! We are so unhappy!!!!!

      September 14, 2012 at 01:17 | Report abuse |
  19. Back Door

    Meow......alley cats in heat.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:06 | Report abuse | Reply
  20. rick

    blame bush.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Colin

      I know, right? My favorite pastime of the last decade, by far. I miss him for that reason only.

      July 20, 2012 at 03:59 | Report abuse |
  21. CharlesinCharge

    From the census data, in 2008, 72.3% of births by african americans were out of wedlock. Why post this? It demonstrates a cultural problem within the black community where sexually responsibility needs to have a dramatic improvement. There is no doubt that this ties into the number of HIV infections.

    Just for reference, out of wedlock birth rates were 52.5% for hispanics and 28.6% for whites.

    In all racial groups, out of wedlock birth rates are heavily skewed towards those that are uneducated. Again, extrapolating the birthrate data into black MSM HIV infection rates is not a stretch by any means. It demonstrates a cultural issue that needs to be addressed. Education and personal responsibility must be improved.

    The question is – How can their culture be changed? It certainly won't happen from outside sources. It must happen from within the black community.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:18 | Report abuse | Reply
  22. Damien

    As disgusting as it sounds, black men of gay men don't seem to care about health, education, lifestyle, etc. For black men, since they are higher on the list, just seem to want to stick their dick somewhere and anywhere would not matter, as long as its a hole. If they see a hole in the ground, they would go for it. Don't see why people always say its their life let them live it the way they want. Others say that its a free world...who defines what is right and what from what is wrong? These are questions from people who lack the true meaning of life and its existing purpose. Can something good be bad if bad does contaminate it? And it may be a lack of education, which is not the case. It boils down to pure evil and immorality. basically, as the bible describes Sodom and Gomorrah for those who are Christians and for those who think the brought themselves into existence. Well, as a man thinks in his heart, so is he. He was not born that way. He made a conscious decision to follow some of life's norms whether risky or plain living.

    July 19, 2012 at 12:30 | Report abuse | Reply
  23. Ken

    There is no room here for hatred and bigotry in some of these comments below This is part of the larger problem

    July 19, 2012 at 12:39 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Uncommon Sense

      Yeah Ken, lack of any moral code in the world anymore.

      July 19, 2012 at 14:16 | Report abuse |
  24. Sy2502

    AIDS is one of the most preventable diseases out there, use protection, it works pretty well. If you decide not to use it, well, I am sorry but you are taking your life in your own hands. And that's where the issue of personal responsibility comes in. We can have all the philosophical discussions about education, social issues, poverty and minorities, but at the end of the day, that individual makes a decision. Let's start calling things with their real name instead of dancing around the issue, and drill into these guys' brain that their choice about use of protection can kill them.

    July 19, 2012 at 13:40 | Report abuse | Reply
    • mm

      lol..i love the ignorance of most of these posts. So wait, Sy2502, you're telling me that if you're in a monogamous heterosexual relationship for 3 years that you're using protection every time? I bet not! Even if you think someone is faithful they might not be. So essentially the only way not to get HIV is to have protected sex EVERY SINGLE TIME even if you think your partner is faithful, or to not have sex at all. So in reality, every person who's had unprotected sex is at risk. So stop being so mean to people who have HIV, it might not have been their fault at all.

      July 19, 2012 at 14:36 | Report abuse |
    • Sy2502

      Don't be ridiculous! These guys are NOT in monogamous relationships. You obviously don't have much experience with the gay scene, which is why you came up with this starry eyed, la-la-land politically correct fluff. Please come here to San Francisco e take a stroll in the Castro, and let me know how many gay men in long term, monogamous relationships there are. I have nothing against gays, and I have nothing against sleeping around, but I am all in favor of taking responsibility for one's actions.

      July 20, 2012 at 13:08 | Report abuse |
  25. Uncommon Sense

    I would suggest not having unprotected sex with a bi black dude eh?

    July 19, 2012 at 14:15 | Report abuse | Reply
  26. anna

    Good Riddance.

    July 19, 2012 at 14:54 | Report abuse | Reply
  27. brett

    I took a course called "race on the stage" where we debated this topic. A fellow classmate (white male student) stood up and declared it discriminatory that he couldn't donate blood at a recent visit to the hospital because he was gay.

    I raised my hand and said....no one forced you to check off the box that asked "have you had sexual intercourse with another man." Truth is.....He had the choice of whether or not to share that (very personal and private) information. Right or wrong?

    July 19, 2012 at 16:27 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Gabriela

      It is not that I expect Zuma to act out of his own sense of what is right. A sense of what is right has never been his strnog point. Self-preservation, on the other hand, is a major aspect of his political instinct. If he does not realise that his continued tolerance of the Shicekas of this world poses a threat to him, he really has lost the plot. Justice Malala

      September 11, 2012 at 08:16 | Report abuse |
  28. TWTS

    Irresponsible behavior in the black community? What?! Put a rubber on it for gods sake, you already cost the taxpayers enough without all this buggering.

    July 19, 2012 at 16:50 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Is That You

      Mitt Robme? Is that you?

      July 19, 2012 at 17:09 | Report abuse |
  29. All for one_One for all

    I THOUGHT african Americans had a higher ratio of Hypertension and higher ratio of a couple more diseases ? whatever...Shame some get involved in Perverted lifestyle hate it for anyone..

    July 19, 2012 at 22:35 | Report abuse | Reply
  30. Colin

    This is a new revelation?

    July 20, 2012 at 03:55 | Report abuse | Reply
  31. julia

    Theo seek the lord yo God ... Being gay is wrong. I wil keep praying for u have treatment and take care of yourslef. From a black sista.The black community please be responsible.

    July 20, 2012 at 04:44 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Levi

      idiot you need to leave the ignorance out of your messages of "hope" if you're an example of what to be then leave me out of it "yo"

      July 20, 2012 at 17:25 | Report abuse |
  32. OVER IT

    "Men who have sex with men" is a term reserved for men who would rather die than think of themselves as gay. They refuse to get tested; they don't wear condoms, and AIDS is just one of the diseases that they can transmit.
    Oh and they would rather have you die than think of themselves as gay.
    That's the Low Down on the Down Low.

    July 20, 2012 at 10:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  33. Name*truth

    Deeply saddened by it all. One hope is that Jesus is coming soon. Are you ready? Jesus died for everyone. Repent and turn to a loving God who is mighty to save. He has power. In his love he tells us not to do things only to prevent us pain. Even if we disobey he is faithful to save. Turn to him he will make the change. Come as u are. Love u all..

    July 20, 2012 at 11:21 | Report abuse | Reply
    • Sy2502

      Jesus isn't coming back and god doesn't exist. If your invented god of love really existed, terrible diseases like AIDS wouldn't exist.

      July 20, 2012 at 13:10 | Report abuse |
    • Wiracocha

      we leave on the planet earth were things are real. you can feel pain, sorrow, we live and then we die and then others come after us its a cycle. we are all in the pursuit of happiness. who wants to leave in pain for the rest of his earthly life? I guess not you...we've got to be real people in a real world. I am not saying that GOD doesn't exist: GOD gave us a clean world and we humans are poisoning it with all kind of practices: all kind and type of sex...we are poisoning our ownselves and we are the one to find the cure for it. was is it in GOD's plan to have HIV/AIDS in this world? I doubt it...so let's shut up and find the cure for a disease we humans....why this desease was found.....?because it didn't exist.

      July 30, 2012 at 17:14 | Report abuse |
  34. Lynsu

    Gay men are at high risk for HIV/AIDS...period. Why bring race into the issue?

    July 20, 2012 at 19:20 | Report abuse | Reply
  35. Diva

    If your going to have sex with the same sex do what ever you want to do but do it in a safe manner

    July 21, 2012 at 07:48 | Report abuse | Reply
  36. Marco

    Not if they use condoms and practice safe sex like everyone else is encouraged to do.

    July 23, 2012 at 11:47 | Report abuse | Reply
  37. Daniel

    Wow, I can't believe how many comments there are, i was just checking the same article in CNN Mexico, and there were 0 comments, truly saddening how mexicans have no interest in world news and what's happening around the world.

    July 23, 2012 at 13:27 | Report abuse | Reply
  38. VCD

    Ok. I lived nextg door to a gay man. He would dress like a woman, wear a weave , lip gloss and everything. He had different dudes at is place every other day. There was this one time he had a party and invited a bunch of men over. Here's the crazy part one of those guys tried to talk to me 6 months earlier!! When he saw me he ran..LOL! I one day asked my neighbor if he used protection with his male partners, he said IT DEPENDS! I was horrified. The men he dated were very manly and you would never think that they were into men. Sistas, please ask questions, follow your gut and protect yourselves. Side note: The gay neighbor eventually broke into my apt and stole most of my underwear and bras!!! I know this because he was wearing one of them...LOL!

    July 23, 2012 at 13:50 | Report abuse | Reply
  39. OMG

    America and other 'gay' countries knew that gay people have more risk of HIV Thats because they can have anal and oral sex
    Anus is the filthiest part of the body
    One day the whole world will regret allowing gay marriage

    July 24, 2012 at 08:09 | Report abuse | Reply
    • HENRY

      lets say gay marriage was legal...that perfect reason for the epidemic to decrease. keep ur ignorance to urself...mr. no life...

      July 24, 2012 at 09:21 | Report abuse |
  40. Diana

    And Black women need to say no to these guys when they don't want to take a HIV test first or wear condoms. Hell they should insist on 3 condoms.

    July 24, 2012 at 13:43 | Report abuse | Reply
  41. katolungile

    Black guys don't use jimmy hats for straight sex and look at the birth rates among single black females w/ no father in the relationship..

    Why does anyone think they'd use them for gay sex??? This is not shocking.. It's common sense.

    July 24, 2012 at 14:22 | Report abuse | Reply
  42. Abdul

    I have thoroughly enoejyd every season you've been on the air and am thrilled that the world has found it's way back to dance as mainstream entertainment .Suggestion: when the new season begins, I know you highlight and feature different kinds of dance from different cultures, countries, etc. I just got back from vacationing in Rio, and while there was privileged to catch a performance of a contemporary Brizilian dance troup, called Grupo Corpo. They are brilliant, and am hoping that if not this year, you can bring them for a feature spot on the show at some future date. Their pieces could easily be adapted for time and camera. They were so unusual and organic and creative.Also, with all the dance styles you showcase, why isn't there more of a Flamingo presence in the featured dance spots? That's a fabulous dance experience when done well. It's as sexy and compelling as The Argentine Tango and The Paso Doble (sp?).Thanks for listening! A dedicated fan

    August 1, 2012 at 22:41 | Report abuse | Reply
  43. Arden Mruk

    Wow, that what I was searching for, what a stuff!


    September 25, 2014 at 14:58 | Report abuse | Reply

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