LGBT Health Education Blog
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently updated their fact sheet on HIV among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM). The news, unfortunately, is not good. In the US, HIV continues to affect gay and bisexual men more severely than any other group. Among MSM, Black/African American men bear the most disproportionate burden of HIV and young men of color continue to represent increasing proportions of new infections. The fact sheet is available on our resource page (link).
A Food and Drug Administration (FDA) advisory panel yesterday unanimously recommended approval of an at-home oral HIV test. With the CDC estimating that around 240,000 Americans do not know they are HIV positive (link), an over-the-counter HIV test has promise for increasing the number of people who know their status and get connected to care; by extension, the test may also ultimately reduce new infections. HIV/AIDS disparately impacts gay and bisexual men, men who have sex with men (who may not identify as gay or bisexual), African Americans, and Latinos. The oral HIV test uses a mouth swab and is already approved for use by medical practitioners. Home use trials suggest it is less reliable than when used in clinical settings, yielding some false negatives, but the FDA advisory panel strongly agreed that the benefits outweigh the risks. They also stressed that if approved, testing materials should warn that negative results do not automatically mean the person is HIV negative, and should provide an 800 number connecting users to counseling and medical care. The FDA will make a final decision on whether to approve the home-testing product later this year.
The manufacturer's press release is here.
Check out Urbanite Baltimore's noteworthy profile of openly lesbian health care provider Tonia Poteat, PhD, who was recently appointed Senior Technical Advisor for Most At Risk Populations by the Office of the U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator. As a physician assistant at Chase Brexton Health Center (a LGBT-focused health center in Baltimore) Dr. Poteat cared for at-risk transgender patients at Poteat's coming out story was told in the 2007 documentary For The Bible Tells Me So, which profiled Christian families’ struggles to accept lesbian and gay children. Dr. Poteat also did a stint with the CDC and the World Health Organization monitoring and evaluating HIV treatment programs in sub-Saharan Africa. It is inspiring to read about a provider so dedicated to reaching the most vulnerable populations.
This week, The Global Forum on MSM & HIV announced its 2012 Global Men's Health and Rights Survey. Click here to take part in the second global survey in history on the health, happiness, and access to care for men who have sex with men (last year, 5,000 responses were collected worldwide). Survey results are used to improve global access to HIV prevention and care services.