By Meron Tesfai
September 27 is a nationwide observance day to recognize the severe impact that HIV/AIDS has on gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men. The goal of this day is to encourage people to take action in the fight against HIV/AIDS by taking steps to reduce spread and stop the stigma associated with HIV/AIDS.
In 2009 and 2010, an estimated 318 new HIV infections occurred in Boston.
Men still account for the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in Boston and men who have sex with men is the largest risk group of all HIV/AIDS cases.
Of thse living HIV/AIDS cases in Boston, 42 percent are Black, 32 percent are White, and 23 percent are Latino. It is important to note that HIV/AIDS continues to disproportionally affect communities of color with the incidence of new HIV cases being the highest among Blacks residents in Boston, reporting a rate 2.8 times higher than White residents.
Mode of transmission of reported HIV cases:
- MSM (Men who have sex with men): 43 %
- Heterosexual sex: 9%
- Presumed heterosexuals: 9%
- Injection Drug Users (IDU): 6%
- MSM & IDU: 2%
- Undetermined, other: 28%
How you can stop the spread.
- Wear a condom or barrier like dam when engaging in sex acts
- Avoid sharing needles or drug equipment
- Practice abstinence (do not have any type of sex)
- Avoid sharing body piercing and tattooing equipment including ink
- Get yourself tested for HIV!
What can you do?
Ask your primary care physician about getting tested for HIV! If you don’t have a physician, you can contact BPHC’s Mayor’s Health Line at 617-534-5050.
Educate yourself about what you can do to protect yourself against infection, and spread the word to others. Information on HIV and prevention is available here and here. You can also call 617-534-5611 or go to our website www.bphc.org.
Meron is a project manager in the Infectious Disease Bureau’s Education & Outreach Office.