National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day calls for testing, prevention
Wednesday, September 27, 2023
Today is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, and Nevada is one of the 10 states with the highest HIV infection rates.
In 2021, more than 11,000 Nevadans were living with HIV. Recent data show nearly 70% of all new HIV diagnoses in the U.S. are among gay and bisexual men.
Dr. Laura Cheever, associate administrator of the HIV/AIDS Bureau for the Health Resources and Services Administration, said despite progress in care and treatment, there are still many who do not realize they have the disease. HIV today is what she called a "manageable, chronic disease," which can be treated with antiretroviral therapy leading to viral suppression and have no risk of transmitting HIV sexually to someone else.
"In order to live a near normal life span, a person with HIV needs to get on medication and stay on them," Cheever explained. "A lot of people just don't want to deal with the fact that they may have HIV because there is so much stigma still around the HIV diagnosis as well as other issues including homophobia and racism."
Cheever advised getting tested is the first step. For those who test negative, there are ways to prevent future infections. She noted pre-exposure prophylaxis, commonly known as "PrEP," is a great option. According to the Centers for Disease Control, PrEP reduces the risk of getting HIV from sex by 99% when taken as prescribed.
Cheever pointed out like other chronic diseases, HIV disproportionately affects those who are part of minority populations. She added for those looking to receive care or treatment for HIV at low or no cost, you can visit hiv.gov. You can also visit takemehome.org, and enter your ZIP code to see if you are eligible to receive a free, at-home HIV testing kit.
Cheever stressed it is important to realize HIV does not solely affect men who have sex with men.
"It can be transmitted between any two people having sex," Cheever cautioned. "It is disproportionate in the population of gay men in this country which is largely based on sort of historically how it entered this country, but anyone who is sexually active is potentially at risk for HIV."
Cheever added access to health care, education and prevention efforts are all contributing factors in decreasing the rates of HIV.
get more stories like this via email
Health and Wellness
Most people probably never give a second thought to their visits to the dentist, but not everyone can navigate this process with ease. People with …
Christmas is a little more than two weeks away, and toy drives around the country are in full swing. A North Dakota organizer shares some things to …
A federal judge in Nevada has dealt three tribal nations a legal setback in their efforts to stop what could be the construction of the country's larg…
Hoosiers could get their holiday trees from any of about 200 tree farms in the state, according to the Indiana Christmas Tree Growers Association…
Reports from the Insurance Commissioner's office and the state Attorney General reveal an analysis of what they call "the true costs of health care" i…
Health and Wellness
The holiday season is filled with recipes passed down from years before, and feasting with family and friends. But think again before you have …
Connecticut lawmakers are reluctant to approve new emission standards that would require 90% cleaner emissions from internal-combustion engines and re…
While lawmakers and environmental groups strive to lower vehicle emissions and the nation's carbon footprint, many truckers see unrealistic …