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National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day: The Importance of PrEP in Ending the Epidemic

Recently, new HIV diagnoses fell to a historic low in New York City, based on statistics from the NYC Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The decline was especially steep among men who have sex with men (MSM), whose infections were down 44% in 2019 from the number of estimated new infections in 2015. While this is very welcome news, and a big step in New York State’s goal of ending the HIV epidemic, major inequities persist across many communities.

Monday, September 27 is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), bringing attention to the impact of HIV/AIDS on gay and bisexual men, particularly men of color, who have been hardest hit by the epidemic.

In 2019, of all new diagnoses among MSM, 80% were among Black or Latino MSM, and 50% of New Yorkers newly diagnosed with HIV lived in neighborhoods of high poverty. There are also inequities in viral suppression rates among people living with HIV in medical care, with 94% of White people and Asian/Pacific Islander people virally suppressed, compared to only 87% of Latino people and 84% of Black people.

Additionally, recent data indicates that PrEP and PEP use declined overall in New York State for the first time since the Ending the Epidemic Dashboard NY began tracking them. PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a pill that is highly effective in preventing HIV transmission when taken daily. PEP (post-exposure prophylaxis) can be taken after being potentially exposed to HIV to prevent becoming infected. Learn more about these powerful tools to help end the HIV epidemic.

In light of all this, it’s crucial to continue encouraging PrEP and PEP uptake, especially among New Yorkers in high poverty areas. And it’s more important than ever to invest in Medicaid, which provides the only way for many gay and bi men to access the information, testing, and care that they need to prevent or treat HIV.

Please join Amida Care and The NEW Pride Agenda on Wednesday, September 29, for a special National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day virtual town hall about HIV prevention and PrEP.  Register here.

We recently asked Carlos Molina, Senior Director of Marketing and Communications  at Amida Care and Ahmed Mohammed, Program Manager at of NEW Pride Agenda, about their thoughts on PrEP and NGMHAAD. Check out what they had to say:

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