AU Remains “Tenacious and Steadfast”  In Efforts To Expand Programs and Advocacy For Gay Men

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – September 27, 2010 – On the fourth annual National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (NGMHAAD), AIDS United remembers the thousands of gay men who have lost their lives to the disease, honors those currently living with HIV/AIDS, and reaffirms its commitment to expanding its program and advocacy efforts focused on men who have sex with men (MSM). MSM account for nearly half of the more than 1.1 million people living with HIV in the US, and nearly half of the new infections each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

“AIDS United has more than two decades of addressing the HIV/AIDS epidemic in MSM through programs and advocacy,” said AIDS United President and CEO Mark Ishaug.

Ishaug said that since AIDS United’s inception, the organization has funded Community Partnerships that in turn fund hundreds of prevention and care programs that reach thousands of MSM.  AIDS United’s current Access to Care initiative supports programs around the country that are helping MSM from communities most disproportionately affected by the epidemic – including African-American men of color, injection drug users, homeless individuals, and those in the rural southern U.S. – get into the life-saving care and treatment that they need.   

The organization also works to educate Congress, the Administration and the country on the importance of reducing HIV-related health disparities, including those experienced by MSM, and particularly MSM of color.

“The rates of HIV infection and transmission among MSM, especially African-American men , are shocking and unacceptable,” said Ronald Johnson, Vice President of Policy and Advocacy.  “We as an organization and a community must do even more to help MSM protect themselves, and to help those who are HIV positive get the care and treatment they need.”  

In July, 2010, the National HIV/AIDS Strategy, released by the Obama Administration and the Office of National AIDS Policy (ONAP), stated that the “United States cannot reduce the number of HIV infections nationally without better addressing HIV among gay and bisexual men.”

Ishaug said “AIDS United remains committed helping organizations serving MSM and African-American MSM strengthen their programs and advocacy activities, so they can best serve their clients.  We must remain tenacious and steadfast in our work to reach MSM if we are going to end HIV/AIDS in America.”