The Center for Disease Control’s (CDC) report on HIV Among Gay, Bisexual and other Men who Have Sex with Men (MSM) (2010), reveals that the incidence and prevalence of HIV among this population continues to rise. After more than 2 decades of the initial reports of the HIV/AIDS epidemic in the US, MSM still account for the largest number of cases of AIDS and new infection compared to other risk groups (heterosexual contact, IDU) (Blair, Fleming & Karon, 2002; Catania et al., 2001 CDC, 2010). The statistical findings of the CDC are alarming: MSM account for nearly half of the more than one million people living with HIV in the United States, MSM account for more than half of all new HIV infection in the United States each year. According to the surveillance findings, most of the new infections within the MSM population are young Black MSM between the ages of 13 – 29. The number of new infections among black MSM in this age group is roughly twice that of their white and Hispanic counterparts (5,220 infections in blacks versus 3,330 among whites and 2,300 among Hispanics) (CDC, 2010).
The high prevalence and rising incidence rates of HIV among the MSM community is also seen in surveillance data from the AIDS Activities Coordinating Office (AACO). In the greater Philadelphia area, MSM account for 53 percent of the estimated new HIV infections in 2006, 60 percent of those identifying as black/African American. The age range of new HIV cases remains similar to that of the national findings of the CDC: 44.4 percent of MSM between the ages of 20-29. This emerging data, both national and local, indicate not only the changing face of the HIV/AIDS epidemic to one that is increasingly marginalized: Black MSM between the ages of 20-29, but a pressing need to create innovative prevention/early intervention programs that focuses on effectively engaging this high-risk and hard to reach population to increase testing practices and reduce their risks for HIV infection (CDC, 2007).