HIV/AIDS in the Gay Community

Timothy Kincaid

July 31st, 2008

ribbon.jpgAnti-gays often seek to portray all gay persons as diseased. There is a presumption that HIV/AIDS is an automatic consequence of “homosexual behavior” and that all gay persons (gay men in particular) are contagious and dangerous.

Just this week, PFOX’s Regina Griggs made the outlandish claim that 70% of all gay youth aged 13 to 24 are now HIV-positive. And last month we spent considerable time trying to educate Insure.com’s Robert Bland that HIV has not reduced the average age at death of gay men by 20 years.

But in the process of responding to Bland’s homophobic claim, I found that there did not appear to be an easily accessed answer as to just how many gay people are infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus. So I set out to make some calculations of my own.

It is very difficult to say with certainty exactly what percentage of gay persons are living with HIV/AIDS for a number of reasons:

  • Difficulty in estimating the gay population
  • Difficulty in estimating the total number of persons infected with HIV
  • Difficulty in estimating those infected with HIV that are gay or bisexual

However, I’ve taken the best source information I could find and made some assumptions. Wherever possible I’ve erred on the side of caution and my estimations propably understate the total number of gay persons and overstate the extent to which gay persons are infected.

Here is what I’ve found:

  • There are at least 5.3 million gay and bisexual men and 5.5 million gay and bisexual women over the age of 15 living in the United States today, for a cumulative GLB Community of at least 10.8 million people.
  • Around 12.3% of gay and bisexual men – 6.0% of the Gay Community – are living with HIV/AIDS.

For detail about by assumptions and the sources for my calculations, see our new page:

The Prevalence of HIV in the Gay Community

Steve Krotz

July 31st, 2008

First, let me commend you on a very helpful and informative piece. That, along with its companion page “The Prevalence of HIV in the Gay Community” will make excellent reference material for future postings and discussions.

Second, by apparent coincidence (although I don’t really believe in coincidences), I just put up a post on my blog about the seeming indifference of our government to some very alarming statistics about HIV/AIDS in the black community. An article on 365gay Blog by James Withers caught my attention and I felt that what he said was important enough to do a piece on myself and increase the exposure of this troubling situation.

Thanks again for some really great, in depth, journalistic reporting.

My blog “DesertGaySpeak” is at: http://desertspeak.blogspot.com/

Regan DuCasse

July 31st, 2008

I have been a part of the Black Women’s Health Study for about twelve years. More intensely since my lupus was diagnosed eight years ago.

Most often among black women, we might have the same range of women’s cancers as most women across racial lines, but black women die from them in greater numbers. The life expectency of a black woman is still nearly six years shorter than her white counterpart.

The obesity, high bp and diabetes rates are soaring among black women and have steadily, and although preventable, obesity plagues 45% of black women. Even Oprah.

As for STD’s and HIV, it’s a scarier percentage than even gay men, especially white gay men. Who fare better than their black and Latino counterparts.

And even though women have less fatal car accidents, would men consider not driving?

For all the medical and health related numbers out there: it’s no excuse to deny anyone the choice to live in affirming and life lengthening institutions like marriage and to live openly in gainful employment.

I have health problems that threaten my life and comfort every day, MILLIONS of us do… which his why…to use that as an excuse to deny ME or anyone else marriage, considering our dependence on spousal medical insurance, could be life threatening as well.

Sometimes the anti gay truly have the narrowest of tunnel vision. When they are talking about anyone with the potential for medical problems, they are talking about just about ALL of us, and just about anyone.

JJ in Chicago

July 31st, 2008

I would like to nominate Regina Griggs for a LaBarbera Award.

tristram

July 31st, 2008

Tim – you don’t have to post this – but I think you might want to revisit this sentence:

“And last month we spent considerable time trying to educate Insure.com’s Robert Bland that HIV has not reduced the mortality rate of gay men by 20 years.”

maybe ‘has not reduced the average life span of gay men’?

or something. A reduced mortality rate would be a good thing, I think.

Timothy Kincaid

August 1st, 2008

tristram,

Yes. Thank you.

Timothy Kincaid

August 4th, 2008

Recalculating using revised numbers yields a slighly lower estimate of infected persons. The report yielded a slightly lower increase than rumor had predicted and our calculations also adjust for deaths.

Infected gay/bisexual men – 11.7%

Infected gay/bisexual persons – 5.7%

I’m going to wait slightly to see whethere the CDC makes further revisions to total estimations of HIV infections before I revise the page.

Jaft

August 4th, 2008

Somewhat off topic, but, using your estimate of gay/bi men and women and the U. S. census of people in America, there are about 3 gay/bi people for every 100 general people. I always knew Kinsey was off but that’s a jump from the old 1 out of 10 statistic.

On topic now, great article. It’s good to have concise data in one place. Well done.

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