Health

Only half of gay and bisexual men with HIV are in treatment, study finds

A CDC study found that only half of gay and bisexual men with HIV are in treatment. A separate study found that nearly one-third of gay and bisexual men had never been tested for the virus.
A CDC study found that only half of gay and bisexual men with HIV are in treatment. A separate study found that nearly one-third of gay and bisexual men had never been tested for the virus.
Jeremy Brooks/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

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Gay and bisexual men account for more than half of all people living with HIV in the U.S. But two studies released Thursday paint a troubling picture about the treatment and testing gap for these men.

In one study, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that in 2010, only half of the men in this group were receiving treatment, and only 42 percent had achieved viral suppression in their bodies – levels of the virus low enough to keep themselves healthy and to significantly decrease the risk of passing HIV on.

The lowest rates of treatment and viral suppression were found in African-American gay and bisexual men.

There are an estimated 50,000 new HIV infections in the U.S. each year – again, mostly among gay and bisexual men. To bring that number down, health officials are putting a lot of focus on getting infected people into treatment and virally suppressed.

But even diagnosing the virus remains a challenge. A separate survey released Thursday by the Kaiser Family Foundation found that only 30 percent of gay and bisexual men had been tested for HIV in the last year, and another 30 percent said they’d never been tested.

One possible reason, the survey found, is that more than half of the gay and bisexual men surveyed said a doctor had never recommended they be tested.