HIV in Brooklyn rising, especially among gay men and those who sleep with them

The Medical Blog | David G. Savage

While rates of new HIV infections in New York City have almost halved in the past ten years, statistics from New York’s Department of Health and Mental Hygiene (DOHMH) show that more than half of new HIV infections were among men who have sex with men (MSMs) — specifically young men under 30.

In fact, new diagnoses of HIV infection among MSMs under 30 rose from 232 in 2001 to 491 in 2011.

“Complacency among the young that HIV/AIDS is just a matter of taking one pill a day” can make them less likely to practice safe sex, explained C. Virginia Fields, president & CEO of the National Black Leadership Commission on AIDS, to CityLimits.

Close to 112,000 people were living with HIV/AIDS in New York City as of June 2011, but the true number, doctors with DOHMH believe, is possibly 20 percent higher since many people do not get tested and do not know their status.

New infections also disproportionately affect the black and Hispanic communities, which accounted for nearly 80 percent of the newly diagnosed cases. The majority live in central Brooklyn neighborhoods — Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, Williamsburg, Bushwick and East Flatbush — areas that are already home to the city’s largest group of those living with the disease.

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