Even though gay and bisexual men make up the majority of Americans infected with HIV, half aren’t receiving ongoing care or getting the virus-suppressing drugs they need to stay healthy, a new report finds.The study, from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), looked at 2010 data on more than 400,000 male gay and bisexual Americans who were infected with HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.
The research shows that while 77.5 percent did initially get HIV medical care within three months of their diagnosis, only about 51 percent continued getting care on an ongoing basis. Experts note that HIV infection can be manageable if powerful antiviral drugs are taken on a regular basis. But the CDC report finds that less than half of HIV-positive gay or bisexual men were prescribed such drugs, and only 42 percent achieved healthy “viral suppression.”
Why are so many infected men not getting proper treatment? The CDC researchers said many factors could be at play. “Lack of health insurance, stigma and discrimination might influence whether [gay and bisexual men] access medical care,” they wrote. Gaining access to care soon after diagnosis is crucial to whether or not a patient continues to get virus-suppressing medications, the team added.
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