1 in 5 New HIV Diagnoses are among Latinx Gay and Bisexual Men: Experts Recommend Expanded Policy Focus on Latinx LGBTQ Communities

Contact: Johan Marulanda / jm3245@georgetown.edu

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WASHINGTON, DC (March 14, 2019) Following the release of President Trump’s budget request for FY 2020 this week calling for a $291 million increase in funding for his Plan to End the HIV Epidemic over the next decade, the O’Neill Institute is releasing a new policy brief titled, Bolstering Latinx Gay and Bisexual Men to Promote Health and Reduce HIV Transmission. The policy brief, developed in partnership with Bienestar Human Services, an LA-based community-based social services organization focused on health issues faced by the Latino and LGBTQ populations, explores health and social factors that contribute to HIV risks among Latinx gay and bisexual men.

According to the CDC, one in five new HIV diagnoses in 2017 in the US were among Latinx gay and bisexual men. While HIV rates are stable, or falling in other groups, they rose by 12% among these men from 2012-2016. Eighty-four percent of the increase among Latinx gay and bisexual men was in Puerto Rico, Arizona, California, Florida, Illinois, New York, and Texas. By looking at different factors and health outcomes, the authors highlight four policy actions to heighten attention:

  • Strengthen governmental responses to HIV that focus on the unique prevention and care needs of Latinx gay and bisexual men;
  • Address the social determinants of Latinx gay and bisexual men’s health;
  • Support immigrants and migrants, including when providing HIV services; and,
  • Cultivate and support emerging Latinx leaders.

“There is much that we are getting right in our national response to HIV, as exemplified by declining HIV diagnoses and increased HIV viral suppression, yet these outcomes are not being equally shared. By understanding the challenges facing Latinx communities and more strongly embracing Latinx gay and bisexual men, we can turn this around and reduce these disparities,” says Jeffrey S. Crowley, Program Director of Infectious Disease Initiatives at the O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown Law and lead author of the brief.

“Every day, we witness the trauma and burden of our clients for being Latinx gay and bisexual men. We face racism and marginalization from some parts of the LGBTQ community, and too often our families do not fully understand us. Nonetheless, we also witness amazing queer Latinx leaders of all ages fighting for themselves and their communities. This brief shows how we can better support our communities,” commented Oscar De La O, President & CEO of Bienestar Human Services.

Community partners and agencies from around the country have collaborated on a call to action articulating demands from Latinx gay and bisexual men for better support.

In releasing the report, the authors note that Latinx transgender women and men also are at high risk of HIV infection and often have large unaddressed HIV and  health care needs. The focus on gay and bisexual men in this brief is not intended to detract from the need to support Latinx and other trans people.

In commenting on the brief, Sean E. Bland, Senior HIV Associate and co-author of the brief said, “While we welcome the Trump Administration’s new commitment to ending the HIV epidemic, it cannot be achieved until we stop attacking immigrants and Latinx people, and we must expand protections that enable Latinx gay and bisexual men to safely come forward for HIV prevention and care services.”

The policy brief can be read here. The policy brief was developed following a consultation with diverse community stakeholders in Washington, DC in March 2018 and a follow-up meeting in Los Angeles in December 2018. This project is supported by a grant from Gilead Sciences, Inc. Gilead Sciences, Inc. has had no input into the development of or content of this policy brief.

The O’Neill Institute for National and Global Health Law at Georgetown University is the premier center for health law, scholarship, and policy. Celebrating its 10th year in 2017, its mission is to contribute to a more powerful and deeper understanding of the multiple ways in which law can be used to improve the public’s health, using objective evidence as a measure. The O’Neill Institute seeks to advance scholarship, science, research, and teaching that will encourage key decision-makers in the public, private, and civil society to employ the law as a positive tool for enabling more people in the United States and throughout the world to lead healthier lives.

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