HIV / AIDS and Homosexual Men of Color

By OckyDub | Posted Dec 2 2011 | 1 Comment  

During a recent trip to my local gay porn shop, I noticed a trend that I had not noticed before.  Yes I have seen plenty of “bareback / raw” porn but this time I noticed something amongst the many DVD’s that the “actors” in the black bareback movies were looking younger and younger.  I mean some of these dudes looked like they were either fresh out of high school or just entering their twenties.  I’m thinking…what the hell are these young men thinking?  Now I am sure this is not the first time they have ever had unprotected sex, so I am thinking there may be a good chance they may already be infected with HIV or they will be if they keep this type of risky behavior up.I thought; is “bareback / raw” sex the norm amongst our young homosexual men of color or homosexual men of color in general?  The answer may be yes.

PictureAs World AIDS day is upon us, the CDC has released the alarming statistics concerning HIV / AIDS and men of color.   As usual with all the numbers, it begins to look mesmerizing like the screen in the Matrix, but I will still put the figures out there to see if you can wrap your head around them with amazement and sorrow.

Worldwide, the estimated number of people living with HIV is more than 33 million.  In the United States, nearly 1.2 million people are living with HIV or AIDS infection, and 1 in 5 of those is unaware of they are infected.  The CDC estimates that approximately 50,000 people are infected with HIV each year.

According to the CDC, in the southeast United Stated, the epidemic is growing faster than in any other region in the country.  African-Americans constitute 12-14% of the population in the United States but account for approximately 45% of those newly infected with HIV.  Some of the South’s biggest cities topped the CDC’s list of diagnosis rates in 2008: Miami, Atlanta, Memphis, Tennessee, Orlando, New Orleans, Charlotte, and North Carolina.

PictureGay, Bisexual, and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) of all races and ethnicities remain the population most severely affected by HIV.  However, young black MSM were the only risk group in the US to experience statistically significant increases in new HIV infections from 2006–2009.  Statically as it stands right now, at some point in their life, approximately 1 in 16 black men will be diagnosed with an HIV infection. In 2009, the estimated rate of new HIV infections among black men was 6.5 times as high as that of white men, and more than 2.5 times as high as that of Latino men and of black women. The total infection number was about 10,800 black MSM men for year ending 2009.

Also Latinos represented 16% of the population but accounted for 20% of new HIV infections in 2009.  In 2009, the estimated rate of new HIV infections among Latino men was 2.5 times that of white men.

Black men who have sex with men are a particularly high risk group, with black gay males accounting for 22% of all new infections in the US according to the CDC data.

Also, more than a third of young black homosexual men are infected with HIV, more than twice the level seen in white gay men.  Surveys suggest a full 60% of black gay men living with HIV do not know they are HIV positive.




Estimated Rate of New HIV Infections 2009
By Gender and Race/Ethnicity

PictureThese numbers are ridiculous…

First, how in the hell do you not know your HIV status?  There is no excuse for this.  Most cities and states offer free HIV testing, especially in large urban areas.  So there is no reason why you can’t get tested and know your HIV status.Second, the HIV increase in young MSM men of color is staggering and alarming.  Has the gay community’s attitude about HIV / AIDS changed because of the life expectancy has increased due to the effectiveness of HIV drugs?  Do some feel like “well I don’t care if I get it because they have drugs now that will allow me to live a normal life?” 

Even if this is the attitude, do they not realize they will have to take these drugs everyday for the rest of their life AND these drugs will cost well over $300,000 through out your life time?  What if the prices increase or you don’t have any medical insurance to help with these costs? 

Also keep in mind that only half of people with HIV receive proper care and only 28% have their virus under control.

I even read an article that some HIV “negative” men are taking some of these drugs before they have bareback encounters as a preventative way to keep them from contracting HIV.  Damn…Is wearing a condom that big of a deal?  Why do people of color continue to have (year after year) the highest rates of infection?  What is it that is preventing us from getting a handle on this epidemic?

Do the young homosexual men of color have an invincibility complex? Do we older homosexual men of color think so little of ourselves?  Do we all not value ourselves enough that we are willing to sacrifice our health in pursuit of a busting nut?  Again sadly, the answer may be yes.

If you would like to read more on the CDC’s facts, links are here and here


– Octavius

About the Author

Octavius is a founder and editor of Cypher Avenue. He's here to help speak for us and show the world that masculine gay / bisexual men of color are not a part of the stereotypical gay normal that is seen and fed to the masses. No...we are a distinct breed, filled with character and pride. Cypher Avenue is here to show the world how we are different.

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1 Comment Feel Free To Join The Cypher.

  1. The Messenger | July 7th, 2013

    I guess I will be the first and since people in here are scared to post. My name is not important but my story is. I contracted HIV almost 14yrs ago. I trusted a man who I thought was going to be my one and only. Prior to my being HIV I did have raw sex when I felt I know the person well enough. I’ve spent all of my adult life live with HIV. I spent the first ten years no believing I had it. Which mind you was and is not the way to go. I lost my ability to walk and I need help with basic things like bathing and cleaning my self head to toe. I was told at one point i would not live past the night. But GOD saw differently. The doctor found a remedy that worked it was me taking 23 pill twice a day and this was back in 2003. Fact forward to 2012 I’m walking and my t-cells are good and I’m undetectable.l take one pill a day but its a bitch and cause me to have mood swings about the fact I have HIV. Lucky for me I have partner who is HIV- but still loves me and lets me know that I’m still the one for him. Yes we use condoms. I tell my story only to say. people use condoms get tested. Make it about of your convo when trying to hook up. You might not be like be where I have a very supportive partner and friend.

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