The LGBT Health & Development Program

New Report Highlights HIV Epidemic among Black Gay Men

Posted on September 7th, 2012 by Katie in Allies, Research Blog. No Comments

Men who have sex with men (MSM) have been at the center of the HIV/AIDS epidemic for more than three decades. Although rates of new HIV/AIDS infections for the overall MSM population have remained relatively stable over the past years, a recent report released by the Black AIDS Institute, Back of the Line, highlights how Black MSM are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS in the United States. Supported by data from the Center for Disease Control and Prevention as well as a study published in the journal AIDS and Behavior, the report presents startling statistics about this epidemic:

  • Black MSM accounted for approximately 1 out of 4 new HIV infections in 2009
  • Young, Black MSM (ages 16-29) experienced a 48% increase in new HIV infections from 2006-2009

Taken together, the report concludes that no population in the developed world is more heavily impacted by HIV/AIDS than Black MSM living in the United States. Factors driving this trend for Black MSM may include:

  • Limited access to health care and HIV testing, prevention, and treatment services
  • Higher rates of other sexually transmitted diseases which, in turn, increase risk for HIV transmission
  • Stigma of HIV and homosexuality, which can hinder utilization of HIV prevention services
  • Young, Black MSM may be particularly vulnerable because they are also more likely to have an earlier sexual debut, greater odds of having older sexual partners, and a general underestimation of their personal risk for HIV.

Taken together, the findings presented in the report emphasize the need for increased HIV testing, prevention and treatment, health care access, and social-marketing campaigns that specifically target Black MSM in order to reduce the HIV burden experienced by this population.



Black AIDS Institute. (2012). Back of the line: The state of AIDS among black gay men in America. Los Angeles, CA: Author. Retrieved from

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (August, 2011). Estimates of new HIV infections in the United States, 2006-2009. Atlanta, GA: CDC. Retrieved from 

Stall, R., Duran, L., Wisniewski, S. R., Friedman, M. S., Marshal, M. P., McFarland, W., et al. (2009). Running in place: Implications of HIV incidence estimates among urban men who have sex with men in the United States and other industrialized countries. AIDS and Behavior, 13, 615-629.

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