Obama on World AIDS Day: HIV Infections Up Almost 50% in ‘Young Black Gay Men’

By Penny Starr | December 2, 2011 | 6:19 PM EST

President Barack Obama makes remarks on World AIDS Day , Thursday, Dec. 1, 2011, at George Washington University in Washington. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

(CNSNews.com) – In a speech on Thursday to mark World AIDS Day, President Barack Obama said “the fight is not over – not by a long shot,” and noted that HIV infections among “young, black gay men” in America were the worst, up almost 50 percent in three years.

Obama acknowledged that while the rate of new HIV/AIDS infections has decreased elsewhere in the world, not so in the United States.

“The infection rate here has been holding steady for over a decade,” Obama said at an event at George Washington University. “There are communities in this country being devastated, still, by this disease.”

“When new infections among young black gay men increase by nearly 50 percent in three years, we need to do more to show them that their lives matter,” Obama said.

The president noted that 1.2 million Americans are living with HIV.

The statistics cited by Obama come from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), but the president did not include information from the CDC that reveals more about the demographics of people who have HIV in the United States, including:

Link to CDC Fact Sheet: http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/surveillance/resources/factsheets/us_overview.htm

The number of people living with HIV infection in the United States (HIV prevalence) is higher than ever before. The CDC has estimated that more than 1 million (1,106,400) adults and adolescents were living with HIV infection in the United States at the end of 2006, the most recent year for which national prevalence estimates are available. This represents an increase of approximately 11 percent from the previous estimate in 2003.

HIV disproportionately affects certain populations. Men who have sex with men (MSM), blacks/African Americans, and Hispanic/Latinos are the groups most affected by HIV infection.

MSM represent approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population. However, MSM have an HIV diagnosis rate more than 44 times that of other men, and more than 40 times that of women.

MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infections in the United States and nearly 30,000 MSM are newly infected with HIV each year.

MSM is the only risk group with increasing annual numbers of new HIV infections.

AIDS activists in Indonesia. (AP Photo.)

On Thursday, the White House posted two documents on whitehouse.gov marking World AIDS Day. The first was a proclamation from Obama formally making Dec. 1, 2011 World AIDS Day in the United States and the other a seven-page document entitled “FACT SHEET: The Beginning of the End of Aids.”

The proclamation said “we are implementing the first comprehensive National HIV/AIDS Strategy in our country’s history, which calls for strong, coordinated policy initiatives, enhanced HIV/AIDS education, collaboration across the federal government, and robust engagement with individuals, communities, and businesses across America.”

No mention is made in the proclamation about homosexual behavior, such as anal sodomy, or other high-risk behaviors documented by the CDC to increase the rates of new infections and the number of people living with the disease.

The fact sheet also does not mention homosexual practices and their relationship to HIV/AIDS. It does include continuing efforts by the United States through the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief – or PEPFAR – in Africa and elsewhere around the world that was put in place by George W. Bush and continuing with the Obama administration.

Workers hang a red ribbon on the North Portico of the White House in Washington, Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011. December is AIDS Awareness Month. (AP Photo/Haraz N. Ghanbari)

The portion of the fact sheet that addresses the “domestic HIV/AIDS epidemic” says that the Obama administration “has mounted a comprehensive and aggressive response to refocus our collective efforts to respond to the domestic HIV epidemic.”

The response is detailed with accomplishments already made, such as improving “coordination across government” and “dialogues” held around the country to engage communities.

Going forward, the fact sheet states that Obama is “directing $50 million in increased funding” for the treatment and care of HIV/AIDS patients.

Other priorities include “prioritizing HIV in the federal budget” and “increasing healthcare options” through the Affordable Care Act, i.e., Obamacare.

The document also cites as “significant policy changes” by the Obama administration “comprehensive support for injection drug users” and the lifting of a ban on people with HIV from outside the country entering the United States. The latter is cited as making the way for the United States hosting an international AIDS conference in July of next year.