The director of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, gave a statement about the observance of National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day on September 27, 2010 on the NIH website.
National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD) is observed in order to reflect on how HIV/AIDS has affected gay and bisexual men. At the same time, it serves as a time to recognize the invaluable contribution of gay and bisexual men to the development and the implementation of programs towards the prevention and treatment of the disease.
Fauci goes on to share that HIV/AIDS is still taking a “terrible toll” on gay and bisexual men. Since AIDS was first recognized in 1981, more than half a million from this group have been diagnosed with the disease, with more than 300,000 succumbing to it. Despite the fact that sexually-active gay and bisexual men made up a small percentage of the male population in the United States aged 13 years old and older, sexually-transmitted HIV among their group made up more than half of new diagnoses of HIV in 37 states in 2008.
Prevention and treatment of HIV/AIDS among gay and bisexual men, however, has been challenging, mainly due to the fact that prejudice and discrimination make it difficult for them to have open access to prevention, treatment and care. Still, their contribution to HIV/AIDS research through participation in research efforts and clinical trials has been invaluable. Dr. Fauci expressed gratitude to gay and bisexual men “for their leadership in advancing HIV/AIDS research and their participation in studies aimed at controlling and ultimately ending the pandemic.”
NGMHAAD was launched by the National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) in 2008.