HIV/AIDS AND HISPANIC/LATINO MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN (MSM)
- In 2009, Hispanic/Latino MSM represented the 3rd largest number of new HIV infections in the United States (6,000).
- A CDC study found that approximately 77% of young MSM who tested HIV-positive did not believe they were infected before the HIV test and 59% of these men believed that they were at low or very low risk of infection.
- That same year, 3% of HIV/AIDS cases reported were attributed to injection drug use (IDU) in conjunction with male-to male sexual contact.
- 19% of MSM HIV/AIDS cases were Hispanic/Latino males.
- 77.1% of Hispanic/Latino males born in the U.S., 67.1% of males born in Central America, 79.7% of males born in South America, 75.6% of males born in Cuba, 73.3% of males born in Mexico, and 43.4% of males born in Puerto Rico diagnosed with HIV/AIDS contracted the virus from male-to-male sexual contact.
- Among all Hispanic/Latino MSM in 2006, the largest number of new infections (43%) occurred in the youngest age group (13–29 years), though a substantial number of new HIV infections (35%) were among those aged 30–39 years .
MSM, or men who have sex with men, refers to all men who have sex with other men, regardless of how they identify themselves (gay, bisexual, or heterosexual). MSM have experienced high rates of prevalence and incidence since the beginning of the epidemic. Rising rates for Hispanic/Latino MSM indicate that more support and cultural relevant prevention efforts are needed. Additionally, more research is needed to understand the causes for these higher rates, especially in young MSM.
Complex Factors Increase Risk
- Racism, poverty, immigration, and homophobia contribute to many sides of this problem. Lack of access to culturally competent health care and financial resources are obstacles to addressing high HIV/AIDS rates.
- The stigma associated with HIV/AIDS and homosexuality can prevent Hispanic/Latino MSM from being open to their family support systems.
- More research is needed to understand the reasons why some MSM have unprotected anal sex. Levels of acculturation are often ignored with many immigrant Hispanic/Latino gay men who see their sexual choices as matters of gender rather than sexual orientation. Continued research and prevention are therefore critical for Hispanic/Latino MSM to receive the necessary support.
- Drug and alcohol abuse can often contribute to increases in risky behavior.
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