The internet is all abuzz on some stats just released by the CDC:
These are Google News stories on that report:
1 in 5 gay, bisexual men in US cities has HIV
The Checkup: CDC — One in five sexually active gay urban men has HIV
44 pct of gay, bisexual men with HIV don’t know it
The authors of those articles didnt read the report. Or if they did, they didnt catch onto what I view as the most important findings of the report. Yes, there are still a lot of bisexual and homosexual men in urban areas that are unaware of their HIV+ status*– of the bisexuals that tested HIV+, 63% didnt know. Homosexuals, 39% didnt know. When the numbers were combined, 44% of urban bi/homosexual men didnt know they were HIV+ (63% of the heterosexuals tested didnt know, but they only tested a few heterosexuals– 5 of the 8 that tested HIV+ didnt know. not statistically comparable to the bi/homosexual numbers).
That sucks. We need to fix that.
But thats not what I focused in on when I looked at their table of data.
Of the people who tested HIV+ and didnt know they were +, 57% had no health insurance. 81% hadnt seen a health-care provider within the past year. Thats insane. Thats unacceptable. And I bet I know what some of these men are thinking. “I dont have health insurance. I cant even go to a doctor for a general check up. Whats the point of getting tested for HIV if I cant afford to treat it anyway? Better not to even know.”
There are government programs to make sure everyone diagnosed HIV+ gets treatment. If everyone knew about these programs, I think that would help get people in and tested… but even those budgets are getting cut in todays economy.
59% of the black men tested didnt know they were positive (whites were at 26%). Baltimore had 73% + but didnt know it (city pop 63.4% black). Detroit had 70% + but didnt know it (city pop 81.6% black). Philly had 70% + but didnt know it (city pop 43.5% black). The African American community needs to get their heads out of the sand and step up to the fucking plate.
There were lots of journalistic angles you could take with this data. Professional journalists took the easiest, dumbest, path of least resistance. Their headlines and conclusions took no thought at all. And they missed a chance to point out major disparities, economical and cultural, that could have made people think. Or even better, save some lives.
* The CDC asked 28,468 people to complete their survey and an HIV test. Of those 28,468, 8,153 said ‘yes’. Seems like you might be biasing your survey against people who knew their HIV status, either +/-, and didnt want to do the survey for a free test and $25, but whatever. Theyre the CDC, I assume they know what they are doing.