NATIONAL GAY MEN’S HIV/AIDS AWARENESS DAY IS SEPTEMBER 27TH

Baltimore, Maryland (September 23, 2013) - On September 27, 2013 the Maryland Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DHMH), will join the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Kaiser Family Foundation’s “Greater than AIDS” Campaign, and state and local partners to observe National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD). This years’ observance will include holding a community forum at the Enoch Pratt Central Library and providing free HIV testing at Baltimore’s Inner Harbor.

According to the CDC, 1.1 million Americans are living with Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). As of December 31, 2011, nearly 28,200 Marylanders were diagnosed and living with HIV/AIDS. Of those diagnosed statewide, 30.1 percent reported being men who have sex with men (MSM), and among adult/adolescent cases in Baltimore City, 24 percent indicated exposure via MSM. An estimated 6,250 people in the state are infected with HIV and still do not know it.

“Early detection and scientific advances have helped to extend the lives of Marylanders who are living with HIV, " said Dr. Joshua M. Sharfstein, DHMH Secretary. "We encourage residents to get tested for HIV and know their HIV status early.”

In 2011, local HIV testing efforts led to the identification of 1,311 newly diagnosed cases in Maryland, 52 percent of which were MSM. Among the MSM that were newly diagnosed, 67 percent were African American and 51 percent were between the ages of 20 and 29 years. MSM exposures were the leading cause of HIV cases from 1981 to 1987 and from 2009 to the present. High risk behaviors that can lead to HIV infections include multiple sex partners, unprotected sex, sharing IV drug needles, and being too intoxicated by alcohol and drugs to make wise decisions.

“DHMH aims to reduce HIV prevalence in the MSM community by having a team of MSM community leaders and providers focus on programmatic responses to the HIV among MSM,” said DHMH Infectious Disease Bureau Director, Deborah McGruder. “We encourage young MSM to participate in this years’ NGMHAAD Community Forum and HIV testing events.”

DHMH Infectious Disease Bureau staff will host a National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD) Community Forum at the Enoch Pratt Central Library, located at 400 Cathedral Street in Baltimore, Maryland from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, September 27, 2013. Immediately following the community forum, IDB and the Baltimore City Health Department’s mobile van staff will provide , which is located on the corner of Pratt and Light Street in Baltimore, Maryland.

To find a local HIV testing site near you, text your local ZIP code to KNOWIT, and you will receive a text back with a testing site near you. Or, you can visit http://hivtest.cdc.gov.
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