Sexual Health news - HIV

National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day offers support and encourages preventative measures

Sept. 27 was National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). Many advocating groups emphasized the importance of frequent testing for HIV, since men who have sex with men (MSM) are a high-risk population for contracting the virus.

In 2009, approximately 60 percent of all HIV infections were diagnosed among MSM, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In response, the agency is in the process of pursuing a prevention approach by using cost-effective interventions that it can direct at at-risk groups of individuals.

"NGMHAAD calls on gay men across the U.S. to remember that the end of the HIV/AIDS epidemic may be in sight, but the epidemic isn't over - and MSM are still at high risk," wrote the National Association of People With Aids on its website. "The number of gay men already living with HIV in this country may be as high as 1 in every 8, so we have to protect ourselves. Play safe!"

Health officials recommend that MSM and bisexual men who have multiple partners receive HIV testing every three to six months. If infected, there is a lot that can be done to reduce symptoms and slow the progression of AIDS. Clinicians can prescribe drug therapy to suppress the virus. Moreover, the Food and Drug Administration recently approved the distribution of the first pre-exposure prophylaxis drug, Truvada. It is currently marketed toward high-risk individuals.

The National Association of People with AIDs was one of the groups who participated in NGMHAAD. It believes that it owes an effort to all those who have passed from HIV and AIDS to do everything it can to help individuals who are currently infected and high-risk populations by educating them on testing options and available treatments, as well as offering support, as reported by CBS News.