Statement from Dr. Howard Koh, Assistant Secretary of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Regarding National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
On September 27, our nation will observe National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). This is a day for us to reflect on the devastating impact that HIV and AIDS have had among gay and bisexual men, to recognize that HIV continues to affect this community disproportionately, and to commit to reducing that disparity.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the U.S. (53%), according to the most recent CDC estimates, and black MSM are one of the subgroups most disproportionately affected by HIV in the U.S.
The National Association of People with AIDS (NAPWA) and its partners founded NGMHAAD in 2008 to refocus attention on the gay and bisexual community, which has been so severely affected by HIV and AIDS. Working together, we can ensure that HIV information and services effectively address the needs of gay and bisexual men. At HHS, we are taking steps to address many of these issues in order to make our country healthier.
As the Administration plans its National AIDS Strategy, it is especially timely that we pause to recognize the effect of HIV and AIDS among gay and bisexual men and their contributions towards ending the epidemic. President Obama's three HIV/AIDS goals which include: reducing HIV incidence; increasing access to care and optimizing health outcomes; and reducing HIV-related health disparities in the U.S., help support this effort. Together we can work to stem the spread of HIV among gay and bisexual men, and among all Americans, and to ensure that those affected get the information, care, and services they need and deserve.
Today let's also not forget the activists who have fought tirelessly to expand research and push for new treatments. Without their hard work we would not be where we are today. Today I want to reemphasize our commitment to preventing and treating HIV and AIDS.