HIV Cases Increasing Among Young MSM In NYC

Armen Hareyan's picture

The number of new HIV cases among men younger than age 30 who havesex with men in New York City has increased since 2003 despite adecrease in the number of overall new cases and AIDS-related deaths,the New York Timesreports.

According to the NewYork City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, the number ofannual new HIV diagnoses increased by 34% among black and HispanicMSM between 2001 and 2006 and increased by 32% among all MSM youngerthan age 30. There were 100 new HIV cases among young white MSM inNew York City in 2006, compared with 228 new cases among young blackMSM and 165 cases among young Hispanic MSM. New HIV diagnoses amongMSM older than age 30 have decreased by 22% during the same timeperiod, according to the Times.

According to theTimes, the increase in new HIV cases among young MSM inNew York City comes as federal health authorities have said that thenumber of HIV cases nationwide could be higher than previouslythought because of underreporting. Advocates and health professionalshave said the increase in new HIV cases could signal a newepidemic.

Health officials have attributed the increase inpart to:

  • An increase in drug use among younger MSM, which can lead to\trisky sexual behavior; \t



  • A sense of optimism among younger people that HIV/AIDS is\teasily treated; and


  • An increasing stigma among MSM about being HIV-positive. \t

New York health officials have acknowledged that their effortsto prevent HIV -- including a condom distribution program, educationprograms at churches and other venues, and increased availability ofHIV tests -- are falling short.

Health officials also haveexpressed concern about an increased number of patients who receiveconcurrent diagnoses of both HIV and AIDS. According to somepolicymakers, the increase in HIV/AIDS cases could be attributed tomore aggressive HIV testing. However, some experts have said theactual number of cases could be higher because 25% of people livingwith HIV do not know they have the virus. According to the Times,New York City has the highest number of AIDS cases nationwide at100,000 and has one of the highest HIV incidences (Kershaw, NewYork Times, 1/2).

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