WASHINGTON, Sept. 26 AIDS Action Council joins the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) to launch the first National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on September 27, 2008. The National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day recognizes the overwhelming impact of AIDS and HIV infection on gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM) and highlights the need for urgent attention to the lives of gay men and MSM affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The awareness day also gives an opportunity for all Americans to join the Call for Action for a National AIDS Strategy that would include a targeted response to HIV/AIDS among gay men and MSM.
"The high rates of infection for gay and MSM can be directly linked to root causes such as stigma and discrimination," said Ronald Johnson, Deputy Executive Director, AIDS Action Council. "We are delighted to join NAPWA in this historic recognition of this distinct HIV/AIDS Awareness Day that closes a previous gap in recognition for this important population that merits its own Awareness Day."
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's revised estimate of new infections shows the continuing, severe burden of HIV on gay men and MSM across the nation. Gay men comprised 53% of estimated new HIV infections in 2006. From 2000, MSM is the only group showing an increase in estimated new infections. Among gay men and MSM, young black and Hispanic men and white men in their 30s and 40s are significantly impacted by new HIV infections. Beyond the numbers are the lives of gay men who remain vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. That reality belies the complacency that has set in for far too long about HIV among gay men.
AIDS Action Council commends NAPWA for initiating National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day. We join our fellow organizational sponsors in urging the public, the media, and our government officials to use this awareness day as a beginning to a reinvigorated focus on HIV/AIDS and gay men. We must increase access to voluntary HIV counseling and testing, HIV prevention, and care and treatment for gay men and MSM. We must have a national AIDS strategy to end the epidemic among gay men and among all people living in the United States. The time to act is now. For more information: www.NationalAIDSstrategy.org or www.AIDSaction.org.
Contact: Diego Sanchez, firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE AIDS Action