STUDY: HIV Most Prevalent In The South, Infection From Male-To-Male Sexual Contact On The Rise

A report from the Centers for Disease Control maps out HIV infection across America, and it appears the highest rates are in the Southern states, where comprehensive sex education is not taught in schools.

According to Think Progress, Texas, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Mississippi and Louisiana don’t require health classes to provide information about preventing HIV.

In fact, just 20 states across the country mandate both sex education and HIV education, while the rest of country’s youth are growing up with significant gaps in their knowledge about sexual health. That’s especially troubling amid reports that, even though new cases of HIV in the U.S. are beginning to stabilize, young people still continue to put themselves at risk for the virus.

Guess that abstinence-only crap doesn’t work after all. Who’d have guessed?

Other highly impacted regions include Massachusetts, New Jersey, New York, Illinois and Puerto Rico.
Other finding from the CDC’s HIV Surveillance Report, which examined virus transmission nationwide from 2008 to 2011:

* Male-to-male sexual contact makes up 62% of all HIV diagnoses.

* African-Americans represent 12% ofthe  U.S. population but 47% of HIV diagnoses.

* Latinos make up 21% of HIV infections, but are only 16% of the U.S. populations.

* Infection rates for for people age 20–29 increased.

* The rate of infection for Asians increased while those of African-Americans and Latinos decreased. (Numbers for Caucasians and Native Americans remained stable.)

* Infections transmitted via male-to-male sexual contact increased, while the number from intravenous drug use and heterosexual sexual contact decreased.

* The estimated rate of infections classified as stage 3 (AIDS) remained stable

Get Queerty Daily

Subscribe to Queerty for a daily dose of #aids #aidshiv #cdc stories and more


  • gaymaniac

    -62%(AND GROWING) of new infections due to MSM. As many try to make us believe-it is ‘totally not’ a gay issue.
    -28% of the population are responsible for 68% of HIV cases. Hispanics and African Americans are at higher risk of poverty and becouse of it, at HIV infection too.
    -Increase in age group 20-29. That one is easy- Bareback is en vogue now and HIV is so ‘manageable'(at least, when you are younger than 50).
    -stage 3 classified infections-I guess most of us gay people continue to make an HIV test twice a decade or in some cases not at all.

    What a very, very sad story…

  • nautilusjv

    This news is very disturbing and quite sad. It seems “complacency” has become the new position on HIV/Aids. Particularly troubling is the notion among young men that HIV is a manageable disease with no real consequences except no one really talks about what it is to grow old with the disease or how for some HIV medications are not effective or stop working and so on. The gay community needs a renewed effort to promote condom use and testing and a real and direct explanation about the consequences of living with HIV.

  • viveutvivas

    In my experience most young men under 35 bareback these days.

    I am older but even I have been less dogmatic recently in my safe sex practices, even though I try to limit the situations in which it occurs (and never bottom bareback outside a relationship). I think there are many reasons. Bareback sex feels so much better both physically and emotionally but then there is also a certain amount of “fear fatigue” – after decades of having one’s behavior be ruled by fear of infection, at some point you just get tired of the fear and don’t want to think about it any more. Among guys older than 35 who bareback, I think aging may have a lot to do with it in some cases, in the form of midlife depression and not really seeing a future for oneself. You kind of feel, well, maybe this is the last hurrah, maybe I’ll never have a long relationship again with a hot guy in which I can safely enjoy bareback sex, so I might as well look for the least risky ways in which I can enjoy it while single.

  • Chad Hunt

    @viveutvivas: I have long espoused the “fear fatigue” as reasonings for the rise in barebacking. So many people have become condom Nazi’s that they have fear mongered people into an oblivious nature. There has actually been studies done to prove this exact point. We not only need to install into our society the values of “safer sex” with condoms but teach how and when “natural sex” is an option. Condoms have also caused us to be desensitized when it comes to human contact. We need to be so much more sexually responsible then we are.

  • viveutvivas

    @Chad, yes, I think natural sex has been so demonized in certain quarters that people who may slip up once or twice otherwise become overloaded with shame and guilt and continue with increasingly risky behavior either as a way of rebelling against this shame and guilt or because they think of themselves as a lost cause anyway.

    Then there is the risk factor of “aging while gay.” Why would someone abandon safe sex at 45 after a quarter century of using condoms? Why would a smart AIDS activist stop taking his medications and die? Why would a handsome 40-something gay man writing a book about aging happily kill himself? I think these are all symptoms of the same malady. A whole prior generation who could have shown us how to age gracefully was decimated, leaving many guys with the feeling that life ends at, say, 50, so they might as well throw caution to the wind and grab what enjoyment they can now.

    Then there is the fact that, thankfully, HIV is not the horrible death sentence it used to be. Some people may simply do a risk-benefit analysis and come up with the conclusion that, for them, the risk of certain behaviors is worth the benefit. For example, I think for the top, the infection risk per bareback encounter is (order of magnitude) one in 1,000, similar to the risk of having someone ejaculate in your mouth. The risk of actual death from such an encounter in the age of HAART is much lower than that, and much lower than it used to be. So the risk calculus has changed since 20 years ago. I think many people are comfortable with taking certain risks and we should respect that, even if our comfort level is different.

  • Chad Hunt

    @viveutvivas: I’m going to take your comments here one step further:

    “Then there is the risk factor of “aging while gay.” Why would someone abandon safe sex at 45 after a quarter century of using condoms? Why would a smart AIDS activist stop taking his medications and die? Why would a handsome 40-something gay man writing a book about aging happily kill himself? I think these are all symptoms of the same malady.”

    I have an argument about your symptoms of the same malady comment. I propose the malady in question is “survivors guilt”, I know people in serodiscordant relationships where the negative partner tries to catch or “bug chase” HIV to be in synch with their partner. This is also true of friends, lovers of the 1980’s and 1990’s epidemic. They have guilt over surviving this epidemic when their friends, loved ones did not. Subconsciously they engage in behavior to sort of “join” with those they lost so as to not be left behind.

    There needs to be so much more taught in schools and publicly about the effects HIV has had on the general population and considerable more effects in the LGBT community.

  • Brian

    It’s not due to male-male contact, it’s due to promiscuity. Stop using the homophobic slur ‘due to male-male contact’. It’s factually incorrect.

    The CDC needs to STFU about this. It’s using this homophobic and factually incorrect slur to oppress those who partake of male-male contact. By the way, I touched a man yesterday on the chest. Does that qualify as male-male contact?

    CDC = lies and more lies.

  • viveutvivas

    @Brian, it is not due to promiscuity, it’s due to unsafe sex. Stop using sex-negative slurs. :)

  • viveutvivas

    @nautilusjv, interesting blog post.

    “Taking loads” is for many guys a major part of their sexual identity. What are they supposed to make of current safe sex instruction? Nothing really currently addresses this, except maybe PrEP.

  • Chad Hunt

    Sorry @Brian: , I have to agree with @viveutvivas: . It is high risk behaviors that spread HIV not promiscuity. However having said that you are also right. The CDC should stop saying male-to-male contact. What they should say is more like, males who participate in high risk behavior with other males is on the rise. I’ll grant you though, the more sex involved, the higher the risk also.

Comments are closed.