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Major gaps in HIV treatment for gay, bisexual men

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Bisexual and homosexual men in America disproportionately develop HIV and AIDS, compared to the general population, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are affected by HIV to a far greater degree than any other group of America. Of these adult males, African-Americans suffer from the effects of HIV infections to a greater extent than men of other races. Rates of infections among young African-American MSM's rose 20 percent between the years 2008 and 2010, according to the CDC.

The group makes up just two percent of the American population, but young MSM, aged between 13 and 24 years old, accounted for 72 percent of new HIV infections among all persons in that age group in 2010. That age group represented 30 percent of all new infections in American MSM's. At the end of that year, 489,121 gay and bisexual men were the victims of 56 percent of all HIV infections.

An estimated 12 to 13 percent of all bisexual and homosexual men in the country were diagnosed with HIV. In some large cities, that number rises to 20 percent.

"Sexual risk behaviors account for most HIV infections in gay and bisexual men. Most gay and bisexual men acquire HIV through anal sex, which is the riskiest type of sex for getting or transmitting HIV. For sexually active gay and bisexual men, the most effective ways to prevent transmitting or becoming infected with HIV are to be on antiretroviral medications... and to correctly use a condom every time for anal or vaginal sex," officials from the CDC reported.

Antiretroviral (ARV) therapy, which consists of treatment with three or more ARV drugs, has been shown to greatly reduce the chances of transmitting the disease to other people, by up to 96 percent. A new preventative drug is also newly available, which can help those currently free of the disease to remain HIV negative.

The Kaiser Family Foundation conducted a survey of 431 American men who self-identified as either gay or bisexual. They asked participants questions regarding their knowledge and attitudes regarding HIV and AIDS, in an effort to identify any obstacles to more consistent treatment.

More than half - 55 percent - of all-time deaths in the United States from HIV have been bisexual and homosexual males.

Homosexual men are the only demographic in the country for which HIV infections are becoming more common. The survey found just 53 percent of the respondents reported being in a monogamous relationship, and 20 percent were married. Around one-in-eight live in a household with one or more children under the age of 12.

Roughly half of the participants in the study - 49 percent - stated that HIV and AIDS have significant impact on their lives.

Other sexually-transmitted diseases, including syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea are also more common among gay and bisexual men than among the general population, the CDC reports.

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