Poor Black and Hispanic Men Are the Face of H.I.V.

Donald G. McNeil Jr., New York Times, December 5, 2013

The AIDS epidemic in America is rapidly becoming concentrated among poor, young black and Hispanic men who have sex with men.

Despite years of progress in preventing and treating H.I.V. in the middle class, the number of new infections nationwide remains stubbornly stuck at 50,000 a year—more and more of them in these men, who make up less than 1 percent of the population.

Giselle, a homeless 23-year-old transgender woman with cafe-au-lait skin, could be called the new face of the epidemic.

“I tested positive about a year ago,” said Giselle, who was born male but now has a girlish hair spout, wears a T-shirt tight across a feminine chest and identifies herself as a woman. “I don’t know how, exactly. I was homeless. I was escorting. I’ve been raped.”

“Yes, I use condoms,” she added. “But I’m not going to lie. I slip sometimes. Trust me—everyone here who says, ‘I always use condoms’? They don’t always.”

Besides transgender people like Giselle, the affected group includes men who are openly gay, secretly gay or bisexual, and those who consider themselves heterosexual but have had sex with men, willingly or unwillingly, in shelters or prison or for money. {snip}

Nationally, 25 percent of new infections are in black and Hispanic men, and in New York City it is 45 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the city’s health department.

Nationally, when only men under 25 infected through gay sex are counted, 80 percent are black or Hispanic—even though they engage in less high-risk behavior than their white peers.

{snip}

Topics: ,

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.