Today is World AIDS Day. In order to honor the day and the fallen, we should remember those who are still at major risk of contracting the disease.
In addition to that, maybe we can even learn how we can help.
Despite the increase in availability to preventive measures such as PrEP, there are still subsections of gay men who are highly at risk of contracting the disease.
First, the CDC says that 1 in 2 black men who have sex with other men will be diagnosed with HIV in his lifetime.
That’s a horrifying statistic.
Adding onto that. Within Black people as whole (gay or otherwise), Black men who have sex with other men (MSM) make up 58% of diagnoses, but are 60% less likely to get treatment.
These numbers aren’t because black men are taking more risks in sex, but because of the lack of access to health care.
Where To Help:
If you want to help bring health care to black gay men in need, then consider donating to charities such as the Black AIDS Institute, the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS (NBLCA), the National Minority AIDS Council (NMAC), or the Foundation for AIDS Research (amFAR).
But, Black Men aren’t the only gay men at risk, and incapable of getting medical treatment. Asian Pacific people living with HIV (PLHIV) are also having accessing finding health care.
In fact, UNAIDS says that less than 50% of Asian Pacific PLHIV are able to access life-saving treatment.
This includes countries in East Asia, Southeast Asia and Oceania like Australia, New Zealand, and the South Pacific Islands.
Dr. Bridget Haire, President of the Australian Federation of AIDS Organizations (AFAO) commented on the efforts of trying to help PLHIV.
“We still have a long way to go in ending HIV in our region. Both the Australian Government and other wealthy nations must maintain their political and financial commitment to preventing and treating HIV wherever it emerges.”
In order to help, you can support organizations like the AFAO through money donations or even blood donations.
Lastly, HIV diagnosis rates are still increasing for Latino Men. In fact, the rate among Latino MSM being diagnosed with HIV has increased by 14%. Plus, Latino men have been slow to adopt PrEP.
NewNowNext hypothesizes that the reason for this is because of several cultural differences found between the Latinx community and the rest of Western society.
For instance, “[Some organizations] don’t have Spanish-speaking people to take their phone calls, or make sure they’re directed to where they need to go,” says Moises Agosto, treatment director at the National Minority AIDS Council. “For Latinos who are monolingual… it will be so problematic that they give up.”
In addition, there is an aversion to seeking health care unless being very sick due to the fear of government involvement. Plus, due to many Latin cultures having an emphasis on hypermasculinity, the fear of being connected to homosexuality could be a deterrent.
Adding all that to the lack of a good support system and access to medical care could be the reason that Latino men seem to be at a growing risk.
How To Help:
Consider donating to Oasis, which has provided information, referrals, and tests to Latinx people (gay or otherwise) in New York since April 2016.
Oasis has hosted several workshops and talkbacks that have helped to understand Latino MSM’s thoughts on sexuality and HIV prevention. That’s just the start of what the organization has been able to do for the community in the year and a half that its been open.
Ultimately, on this World AIDS Day, we should remember that there’s still a lot of room left for improvement concerning HIV prevention and treatment.
That said, if we all keep that knowledge in our minds and find ways to support charities and organizations making the world better for PLHIV and those at risk, we can help to truly fight the disease.
h/t: NewNowNext & GayStarNews