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JAMA Reports HIV Spike Among Gay Men; AHF Says Routine Testing, Effective Prevention Needed
Date:11/27/2007

LOS ANGELES, Nov. 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- AIDS Healthcare Foundation (AHF), today expressed alarm over a Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) article that reported a startling 13% increase in HIV/AIDS cases among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States over the past four years. The article prompted AHF to renew its call for effective and sustained prevention efforts and a fast tracking of routine HIV testing nationwide. The JAMA article, which examines the upward trend among MSM in Western countries with a focus on the United States, attributes the uptick in infection rates to a rise in unsafe sex due to, among other factors, reduced fear over the disease's potentially deadly consequences, lack of awareness of HIV status and substance abuse issues, particularly the use of methamphetamines and alcohol.

According to The Reemerging HIV/AIDS Epidemic in Men Who Have Sex With Men by Drs. Harold W. Jaffe, Ronald O. Valdiserri and Kevin M. De Cock (JAMA, November 28, 2007-Vol. 298, No.20): "A venue-based study of more than 5000 MSM aged 15 to 29 years in 6 U.S. cities found that 10% of the men were infected with HIV; of these men, 77% were unaware of their infection (91% of black MSM with infection were unaware of being infected). Of men reporting that their last HIV test result was negative, 8% were found to be infected (21% of black MSM reporting a negative test result were found to be infected). Almost 60% of men who were unaware of their infection considered themselves to be at low risk for HIV infection."

"Despite the fact that we have effective medications today to keep people alive and well and their HIV disease under control, I am alarmed and saddened by this latest report because HIV, while treatable, is not curable and requires lifelong care," said Dr. Homayoon Khanlou, Chief of Medicine for AIDS Healthcare Foundation. "More than a quarter of a million people in the U.S. still do not know they are HIV-positive
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SOURCE AIDS Healthcare Foundation
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