The spreading of HIV across the gay men community has been a worrying topic during the last several years. According to CDC (2016), gay men, or men who have sex with men, are the group that is most affected by HIV in the United States: “While CDC estimates that four percent of men in the United States are MSM [men who have sex with men], the rate of new HIV diagnoses among them is more than 44 times that of other men” (p. 1). The study of HIV in the MSM community between 2005 and 2014 found that the number of diagnoses for white men has decreased significantly, but increased for other racial and ethnic groups, most importantly, Hispanic, and African American (CDC, 2016, p. 1). Addressing the issue in the local community has to be done by creating a comprehensive strategy to address the major risk factors for the spreading of HIV among gay men.
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In order to determine the appropriate interventions for the problem, it would be important to obtain information on the age of the affected population. For instance, if the HIV prevalence is higher among adolescents who practice gay sex, one of the reasons that have to be addressed is the fact that many adolescents lack the required knowledge of how safe sex practices apply to same-gender sex. Sexual education in schools is usually limited to explaining the necessity of the use of condoms when engaging in traditional sex, and there is a possibility that some of the adolescents believe that anal sex poses less of a threat to their safety and thus do not use condoms. Moreover, some of the adolescents also might have restricted access to condoms or be shy of obtaining those, especially if their parents are not aware that they are sexually active.
Thus, based on the information on the age of the participants, it would be possible to determine the additional structures to be involved in the process. For example, if the HIV is indeed more prevalent among adolescents, cooperation with educational institutions would be needed to provide access to contraception and prevent bullying on the basis of sexual orientation, that may provoke risk behaviors and undermine the effectiveness of the intervention (CDC, 2016, p. 2).
The general prevention strategies for battling HIV prevalence among gay men would not be much different from HIV prevention targeting other populations. For instance, introducing regular free HIV testing would increase the awareness of HIV status, causing a decrease in the unknown transmission (AmfAR, 2012, p. 1). The provision of free contraception in schools and colleges would also decrease the rates of transmission among the younger population (AmfAR, 2012, p. 6). Among the strategies to target the MSM population specifically would be increasing health literacy, especially in relation to the possibility of disease transmission during anal sex and the potential treatment and safe sex options for those who are HIV-positive and their partners.
A thorough study of the age distribution of the HIV-positive gay men population would be the first step to determining an effective prevention strategy. Based on the demographic information obtained, it would be possible to determine the modifications and additions that have to be included in the usual HIV prevention strategy to target the MSM population more specifically. If the strategy is employed in consideration with the factors discussed, it will have the potential to dramatically reduce HIV incidence among gay men of the community.
AmfAR (2012). Ending the HIV epidemic among gay men in the United States. Web.
CDC (2016). HIV among gay and bisexual men. Web.
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