Sexually active homosexuals pay ‘heavy toll’ in HIV infections, CDC analysis says

Dr. Kevin Fenton.
Dr. Kevin Fenton.

.- A new data analysis by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) shows HIV/AIDS and syphilis are taking a “heavy toll” among men who engage in homosexual relations. Their risk of HIV and syphilis infection is 40 times greater than that of men who do not practice homosexuality. The data, presented at the CDC’s National STD Prevention Conference, finds that the rate of new HIV diagnoses among men who have sexual relations with men (MSM) is more than 44 times that of other men and more than 40 times that of women, a CDC press release reports.

According to the analysis, there are between 522 to 989 cases of new HIV diagnoses per 100,000 MSM, compared to 12 per 100,000 other men and 13 per 100,000 women.

The CDC analysis says that the rate of primary and secondary syphilis among MSM is more than 46 times that of other men and more than 71 times that of women. While two per 100,000 other men and one per 100,000 women are infected by the disease, the rate among men who have homosexual relations is 91 to 173 cases per 100,000.

"While the heavy toll of HIV and syphilis among gay and bisexual men has been long recognized, this analysis shows just how stark the health disparities are between this and other populations," said Kevin Fenton, M.D., director of CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.

He said the HIV “epidemic” will not be stopped until every community prioritizes the need of homosexual and bisexual men with prevention efforts.

Based on nationally representative surveys, the CDC estimated that MSM comprise about two percent of the overall population over age 13, and four percent of the male population.

The CDC said “a range of complex factors” contribute to the high rates of HIV and syphilis among MSM. Factors include a “high prevalence” of HIV and other STDs among MSM. Other factors are limited access to prevention services; complacency about HIV risk, especially among young MSM; difficulty in consistently maintaining “safe behaviors” in every sexual encounter; and lack of awareness of syphilis symptoms and transmission.

The CDC said “homophobia and stigma” can prevent MSM from seeking prevention, testing and treatment services.

While a reduction in the number of a person’s sexual partners has shown some success in reducing the spread of disease and suffering, the CDC did not mention this or sexual abstinence as possible options.

STD prevention efforts targeting homosexual and bisexual men are part of President Obama’s fiscal year 2011 budget proposal.

According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, Catholic teaching against homosexual acts is based on Sacred Scripture, which presents them as “acts of grave depravity.”

While Catholic teaching forbids unjust discrimination, it recognizes homosexual acts as “intrinsically disordered" and “contrary to the natural law.”

They “close the sexual act to the gift of life” and can be approved “under no circumstances,” the Catechism states.

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