National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day
- on September 26, 2013
Friday September 27th is National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, a day created to raise awareness of the HIV epidemic among gay men. Men who have sex with men are still the group most affected by HIV in the United States. While the scientific community continues to make strides in HIV treatment, in the hope of one day finding an effective cure. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention there are currently an estimated 1.1 million people living with HIV in the United States struggling with the pernicious disease. Of those more than half are gay men, and gay men continue to make up more than half of the 50,000 annual new infections.
National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day is meant to raise awareness among not only gay men, but the community in which we live, work, and interact every day. As a marginalized group with a long history of being discriminated against, gay men have made great strides in the past few years in gaining societal acceptance, yet, this disease which has claimed the lives of more than 302,000 gay men since 1981, remains a sensitive and taboo topic.
In May, Skin Cancer Awareness Month, everyone is reminded to perform monthly self-checks for possible skin cancer. In October, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, women over 40 are reminded to get annual breast exams. September 27th we would like to remind all gay men that they should be tested for HIV. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that sexually active men who have sex with men be tested every three to six months. Regular HIV testing is an effective method for stopping the spread of HIV and ensures quicker access to ever-improving HIV treatment.
The Douglas County AIDS Project will be observing National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm September 27th at our office located at 346 Maine St. Suite 160. DCAP will be offering free HIV testing all day. Our HIV educators will be on hand to answer questions and distribute free condoms and safer-sex supplies. Even if not at risk, we ask that everyone play a roll. Fight the stigma of HIV. Please talk openly with the gay men in your life about how this epidemic is affecting them. Remind them of the importance of testing and encourage them to visit DCAP.