Public health experts use the term “men who have sex with men,” or MSM, because many of these men are not strictly homosexual or even bisexual.
Between 2001 and 2008 male to male sex was the largest HIV transmission category in the U.S., and the only one associated with an increasing number of HIV/AIDS diagnoses, according to a report from Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
The jump was highest- an increase of 19.4 percent- among boys and men between the ages 13 an 24 years who had sex with other males, particularly among ethnic minorities.
“To reduce transmission of HIV among MSM of all races/ethnicities, prevention strategies should be strengthened, improved, and implemented more broadly, “CDC health officials wrote in their Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.
Testing is important, they add, because “after persons become aware that they are HIV positive, most reduce their high risk sexua behavior.”
The report describes trends in diagnoses of HIV/AIDS in 33 states that have confidential, name-based HIV case reporting.
Of 514,379 diagnoses during the study period, 46 percent were among MSM. The rate of new diagnoses declined in all other transmission categories- injection drug use, high risk heterosexual contact, and other routes of transmission.
Among all MSM, the estimated annual increase in the number of diagnoses among MSM was highest among Asian/Pacific Islanders at 12.1 percent, following by a 3.6 percent rate among American Indian/Alaska Natives; however; these two groups accounted for fewer than 1 percent of all diagnoses made during the study period. The annual increase was 1.9 percent among Caucasians. .
In MSM younger than age 25, African Americans bore the greatest burden with 27,658 new diagnoses (annual rate of change of 25 percent), followed by 12422 new cases among Hispanics (28 percent).and 5221 new cases among Caucasians (19 percent annula increase).