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HIV Update October 21, 2003

HIV Epidemic Surge Among Bi Males: Direct Result of CDC's Public Policies and Failed Guidance

"Safe Sex" Message fails to reach those at risk (gays, bi men and drug users)

Bisexual Male Surge Since they don't identify as Gay

Likewise African-American and Latino Males not being reached by Gay HIV Prevention Programs since culturally they don't associate their sexual orientation as Gay even though they have anal sex with men.

Even conservative groups realizing this:
Pete LaBarbera, an analyst with the Culture and Family Institute of Concerned Women for America, saus the rising HIV cases among homosexual men show the limits of multimillion-dollar campaigns about avoiding AIDS. "The safer-sex message is not working. If gay men haven't heard of HIV and health risks, nobody has," he said. Despite untold millions spent on education, "the reckless behavior continues," he said. "Maybe it's time for the CDC and federal government to research the particular health risks associated with gay sex," said Mr. LaBarbera. (Wetzstein, Washington Times, 7/29/03

"Access to treatment in San Francisco is higher than in other places," said Mitch Katz, of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. (San Francisco Chronicle 7/29) Of course, San Francisco receives a disproportionate share of federal funding each year, which also allows SF AIDS Foundation's Executive Director to draw over $300 K in salary, and for people living with HIV to take zoo trips, or engage in "flirting classes," along with other frivolous programs, according to research the Lighthouse Group has performed.

Dr. Harold Jaffe, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, said, "Our biggest concern [regarding HIV prevention] is what appears to be a resurgent epidemic in gay men. I think the most compelling reason is that people aren't scared anymore. If you were a gay man in the 1980s, you were scared. You had a lot of friends who were sick and dying. If you are a gay man today, you don't have a lot of sick peers," Jaffe said. "No parallel increase in HIV infections has been detected in other groups," Jaffe said. "Researchers will do additional analysis to confirm the increase and to determine whether the new cases are occurring largely among gay men or another group," Jaffe said. [Mr. Jaffe fails to mention "bisexual" men specifically, instead utilizing the word "another," without so much as inferring any interest in defining the epidemic in terms of ethnic/racial definitions, or focusing on the prison equation. Failing to focus on the prevention needs for "bisexual" men particularly, whom now represent the bulk of new infections, along with their sexual partners, both male and female, is the byproduct of allowing the term "MSM" (Men who have Sex with Men) to be too inclusive.]

"We continue to sound this warning note to communities and state and local health departments that we need to redouble our (prevention) efforts," Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention, said from the National HIV Prevention Conference in Atlanta. Mr. Valdiserri fails to attribute the surge in new cases among racial/ethnic communities, which represent the majority of new infections nationwide, to failed CDC policy, which refers to MSM's as "gay or bisexual," rather than stratifying policy, which would indicate that individuals are either "homosexual" or "bisexual," and would accompany funding directed at bisexuals, rather than at homosexuals. Currently, and historically, the lion's share of funding for prevention has been directed to homosexual bars, night clubs, bath houses, and other gay venues, while bisexuals are the "invisible population," are virtually ignored by the CDC's policy.] During a briefing for reporters, Valdiserri called the increase in infections among gay men "very, very troubling." Valdiserri cited treatment failure, difficulty adhering to complex treatment regimens and delayed treatment as reasons why more progress has not been seen. The Lighthouse Group is positioned to support the belief that Mr. Valdiserri has a similar issue with recognizing the "bisexual" epidemic.
Perhaps, Mr. Valdiserri, Ms. Gerberding and Mr. Jaffe could use the wake-up calls.

Cleo Manago of the AmASSI Health, Wellness and Cultural Affirmation Center in Inglewood CA Responds to the Thompson Letter <snip>
The letter fosters a confusing phenomenon and bias central to the perplexity still surrounding best practices toward addressing HIV among a truly diverse group of Black males at-risk. You present “MSMs” as impacted by HIV, then gay identifying Black males are referenced, ‘separated out,’ as if that's [really] an all encompassing group among “MSM” at-risk. In the context of Black “MSM’ HIV/AIDS health concerns that's an inaccurate framing that perpetuates existing confusion on the issue of prevention for Black “MSM.” To be clear, I'm not talking about the implementation of services, but about influencing appropriate policy, government direction, comprehension, etc. regarding Public Health with emphasis on Black “MSM” (or a diverse community of Black males at-risk).

HIV in Prisons and Jails
Eric Ture Muhammad, a staff writer for wrote, about the "Prison Rape Reduction Act of 2002," that "according to experts cited by Prison Fellowship Ministries (PFM) in a statement, an estimated 300,000 to 600,000 men and boys are victimized every year. Dr. Cindy Struckman-Johnson conducted a study of the Nebraska prison system, the PFM statement said, and found that 22 percent of the male inmates acknowledged being pressured or forced into sex acts. Prison rape affects more than just prisoners," PFM founder Chuck Colson said. "It punishes people who never set foot inside a prison. For example, AIDS, which is now five times more prevalent inside prison walls than outside, is a deadly plague that infected inmates will spread once they leave prison.

The Lighthouse Group's Response

Lighthouse Group Federal Affairs Director, Kevin P. Nuttall, a former NORA participant for the Ryan White CARE Act Reauthorization Work Group, is firmly positioned to assert that the latest surge in the HIV epidemic -- which actually began in 1989, and has long been ignored by NORA and the CDC -- is the direct result of GAY men taking responsibility for shaping public health policy decisions for BISEXUAL men (and their sexual partners), as well as substance abusers -- while simultaneously, virtually ignoring the "hidden" epidemic in prisons and jails.
NORA is comprised of about 150 organization such as, but not limited to, NMAC, GMHC, SFAF, NAPWA, NASTAD, APLA, AIDS Action, AMFAR, ASHA, ANAC, CAEAR Coalition, GLMA, HRC, NASADAD, NGLTF, LLEGO, PFLAG, SIECUS, ASTHO, Kaiser Family Foundation, The NAMES Project, TAG-NYC, and many, many more.

The Lighthouse Group, in partnership with the NC AIDS Policy Center and NC AIDS News, recently noted that, "when NORA does convene, the majority of participating organizations deploy 'out' gay males as their public policy representatives, whom have little knowledge of the pulse of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the field, particularly such as one might experience were they to tour the rural South, or the epicenter of the AIDS epidemic in almost every major city nationwide. In these venues, the epidemic is spinning out of control among ethnic and racial groups. The "new" or "hidden" epidemic the CDC often mentioned several years ago, among communities of color nationwide, rarely receives mention as of late, by any public health official."
Mr. Nuttall continued, "Rather, newly infected populations are referred to in accordance with their sexual behaviors, and self identifying gay men are combined with 'closeted' bisexual men within CDC data and press releases, utilizing the term 'Men who have Sex with Men' (MSM)." Kai Wright, of the Village Voice, in an article entitled "A New Black Sexual Identity May Be an Incubator for AIDS," referring to "Men on the Down Low (DL), wrote, "a more recent CDC study, released in February 2001, has shoved these men under the microscope like never before. The report estimated that over 30 percent of twentysomething black 'men who have sex with men' (MSM) -- the CDC's deliberately neutral term -- are HIV positive."

In its September 2001 publication, "No Turning Back: Addressing the HIV Crisis among Men who Have Sex with Men," CDC made the following statement: "The many MSM who don't identify as gay, especially in the African-American and Latino communities, are in need of specially designed, innovative prevention strategies. Because these men may not live in traditional gay neighborhoods, or congregate in gay venues, and because many also have sex with women, prevention research must focus not only on how to reach those who, by definition, do not want their same-sex behavior identified, but also must reach the women who are their sexual partners." To this end, two of our large ongoing intervention studies include, among other groups, men who have sex with men but do not identify as "gay." Dr. Ronald O. Valdiserri

Source: E-mail "HIV Epidemic Surge: Direct Result of CDC's Public Policies and Failed Guidance" from to CDC etc

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