Back HIV/AIDS Epidemiology CROI 2013: Gay Men More Aware of HIV Status, Black Men Remain 'Over-burdened' [VIDEO]

CROI 2013: Gay Men More Aware of HIV Status, Black Men Remain 'Over-burdened' [VIDEO]


A growing number of men who have sex with men in the U.S. are aware that they have HIV, but prevalence appears to be stable, according to an analysis of National HIV Behavioral Surveillance data presented by researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) at the 20th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2013) last week in Atlanta.

The CDC issued the following synopsis of the study and its findings:

Awareness of HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) testing positive for HIV in a 20-city study has increased in recent years, according the latest CDC analysis of data from National HIV Behavioral Surveillance (NHBS).  Because awareness of HIV positive status is a critical first step in obtaining care and treatment and preventing the spread of HIV, researchers examined trends in HIV prevalence and status of awareness among MSM. Using data from CDC’s NHBS, which conducts surveys on HIV-related risk and protective behaviors and provides HIV testing in 20 U.S. cities with high AIDS burden, researchers measured changes in the proportion of MSM testing positive for HIV from 2008 to 2011. In addition, among those testing positive, researchers assessed changes in the proportion who said that they were already aware of their infection due to a previous HIV test.

  • HIV prevalence remained steady during the period -- 19% of MSM tested positive in 2008, and 18% in 2011.
  • The proportion of those testing positive that were already aware of their infection increased from 56% in 2008 to 66% in 2011. 
  • HIV awareness increased in all age categories and across all racial groups.
  • However, the proportion of men aware of their infection remained lowest (54%) among black MSM in 2011, though prevalence was highest within this population. 

Since half of all new infections are transmitted by people who are unaware of their HIV-positive status, these increases in awareness are encouraging, but continuing racial/ethnic disparities are concerning. Authors conclude that outreach and testing programs should be sustained and that efforts to reduce disparities remain critical in the fight against HIV.

Cyprian Wejnert from the CDC's NHBS Study Group presented a summary of the research at a march 5 CROI press conference on HIV Epidemiology and Engagement in Care.

[Cyprian Wejnertspeaks at CROI 2013 press conference, Atlanta, March 5, 2013]



C Wejnert, B Le, J Zhu, et al. HIV Prevalence and Awareness of Infection in 2008 and 2011 among Men Who Have Sex with Men: 20 US Cities. 20th Conference  on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI 2013). Atlanta, March 3-6, 2013. Abstract 90.

Other Source

CDC. HIV prevalence and awareness of infection in 2008 and 2011 among MSM -- 20 cities in the United States. Media advisory. March 5, 2013.