CDC: 2% of Population Are Men Who Have Sex With Men

By Terence P. Jeffrey | September 20, 2013 | 4:39pm EDT

(CDC Photo)

( - In the Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report released on Friday, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that only about 2 percent of the U.S. population are men who have sex with men.

The CDC made the assertion in a new report indicating that 80 percent of all new HIV infections in 2010 were of men and that 78 percent of those were among men who have sex with men (MSM).

"MSM represent approximately 2 percent of the U.S. population," said the MMWR.

In stating this, the MMWR cited an analytical report published last year by CDC researchers. That report--"Estimating the Population Size of Men Who Have Sex With Men in the United States to Obtain HIV and Syphilis Rates"--refuted the claim made by 20th-century sex researcher Alfred Kinsey that about 1 out of 10 American males are men who have sex with men.

"Research by Kinsey and his colleagues led to the notion that approximately 10 percent of U.S. men are gay or bisexual," wrote the CDC researchers. "Later reviews lowered this estimate by approximately half. In 1990, the U.S. census added questions about same-sex household partners, but these data cannot lead to a national estimate because people who are not partnered were not counted."

The estimate made by these CDC researchers was based on existing data from a number of national surveys that looked at "men aged 13 or older."

"Using meta-analysis with behavorial data from population-based surveys, we found that MSM comprised 3.9% (3.5%-4.4%) of the U.S. adult male population. This translates into approximately 2.0% of the overall population or 4,791,626 MSM in the United States (95%CI = 4,299,850 to 5,405,526) in 2008.

In fact, the Census Bureau estimated there were 304,059,724 people in the United States as of July 2008. That would make the 4,791,626 men who have sex with men that the CDC estimated were in the United States in 2008 equal to about 1.57% of the population.

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