HIV Trends in Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States

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Men who have sex with men should be tested at least once a year and should be linked to HIV treatment if positive.
Men who have sex with men should be tested at least once a year and should be linked to HIV treatment if positive.

Although men who have sex with men (MSM) account for approximately 2% of the population in the United States, they continue to be disproportionally affected by HIV infection, according to results published in the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

The results indicated that in 2016, MSM accounted for 66.8% of new diagnoses of HIV infection.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analyzed data from the National HIV Surveillance System on MSM aged ≥13 years by age group (13-29, 30-49, and ≥50 years) in the United States. The researchers looked at trends in the diagnosis and prevalence of HIV among MSM to highlight the effects of HIV on this population.

From 2008 to 2016, the annual number of new HIV infection diagnoses increased by 3% per year among MSM aged 13 to 29 years, decreased by 4% per year for MSM aged 30 to 49 years, and remained stable for MSM aged ≥50 years. Overall, MSM aged 13 to 29 years had 4 times as many new HIV diagnoses compared with MSM aged ≥50 years.

The CDC noted racial and ethnic disparities; black/African-American MSM accounted for 49% of all HIV diagnoses among MSM aged 13 to 29 years.

From 2008 to 2015, the number of MSM aged ≥50 years living with diagnosed HIV infection increased by 11% per year, accounting for the largest group of MSM living with HIV infection. The CDC notes that as this population continues to increase, care and treatment should focus on achieving viral suppression and managing age-related comorbidities.

The results of the analysis highlight the need for increased rates of HIV testing, particularly among young MSM. MSM should be tested at least once a year and should be linked to HIV treatment if positive. If they are negative, patients should receive HIV prevention services, including preexposure prophylaxis.

"Increasing HIV testing can help diagnose HIV infection sooner, enable MSM to access HIV treatment, and reduce HIV transmission to others," the researchers wrote.

Reference

Mitsch A, Singh S, Li J, et al. Age-associated trends in diagnosis and prevalence of infection with HIV among men who have sex with men—United States, 2008-2016. MMWR Morb Mortal Wkly Rep. 2018;67(37):1025-1031.

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