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Health Disparities

Sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) continue to disproportionally affect certain populations in the United States.

In 20081 :

  • Men had 5.1 times the reported syphilis rate of women.
  • Approximately 63% of all reported syphilis cases in 44 states and the District of Columbia occurred in men who have sex with men (MSM).
  • Although only comprising between 0.9%-1.5% of the total U.S. population2, American Indians/ Alaska Natives (AI/AN) had 3.6 and 4.7 times the reported gonorrhea and chlamydia rates, respectively, of whites.
  • African Americans had 20.2 times the reported gonorrhea rates of whites.

NCSD continues to develop resources and participate in the dialog as to how STD directors and affiliates can work towards mitigating STD health disparities in their communities.

The Intersection of Public Health and Stigma: Reversing the Rising Incidence of HIV/AIDS and STDs Among Black and Latino Men in the U.S.--A Joint Project of NCSD and NASTAD

The National Alliance of State and Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) and the National Coalition of STD Directors (NCSD) have joined forces to implement this effort provided by the MAC AIDS Fund to support technical assistance and public policy efforts targeting Black and Latino gay men. As national associations of state health department program directors who have programmatic responsibility for administering HIV/AIDS, viral hepatitis and sexually transmitted disease (STD) healthcare, prevention, education, and supportive services programs funded by state and federal governments we are uniquely positioned through our reach and influence with our members and key stakeholders at the federal, state and local levels to address the HIV and STD epidemics confronting Black and Latino gay and bisexual men in the U.S.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data show alarming increases in HIV infections among Black and Latino gay men. In addition to HIV infection, STDs such as syphilis and gonorrhea have grave outcomes that exacerbate the acquisition of HIV. In response to the epidemics among Black and Latino gay men, NASTAD and NCSD released a Statement of Urgency in June 2010 expressing concern about the stronghold HIV and STD infections continue to have on gay and bisexual men of all races and ethnicities in the United States. NCSD and NASTAD members commit to examining existing programs, the allocation of resources and developing new partnerships to ensure that sound and holistic policies impacting the lives of gay men are adopted and implemented.

The release of the National HIV/AIDS Strategy creates a unique opportunity for the HIV and STD communities to consider new, innovative and synergistic approaches to promote comprehensive sexual health among Black and Latino gay men. NCSD and NASTAD admit that many of our past efforts have failed to address one of the central challenges of HIV and STD prevention for Black and Latino gay men: pervasive and unmitigated stigma (i.e., same-sex sexuality/homophobia, race-related/racism and/or a confluence of the aforementioned perpetuated by key actors in our communities and in the public health arena) that diminishes our best efforts to create health-enabling environments to, protect and enhance the sexual health of gay men, particularly Black and Latino gay men in America.

Through this project our goal is to address and measure stigma in public health practice and increase comprehensive access to prevention, care and supportive services for HIV positive and negative Black and Latino gay men through the use of their social and sexual networks.

Additional Health Disparities Resources:

1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Sexually Transmitted Disease Surveillance, 2008. Atlanta, GA: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; November 2009.

2U.S. Census Bureau. The American Indian and Alaska Native Population 2000—Census 2000 Brief. Washington, DC. February 2002.