LONG BEACH, Calif. — Officials here are urging residents — gay men especially — to get tested for HIV, citing high infection rates in the region, the Long Beach Press Telegram reports.
“We need more gay-friendly health care providers and more access to health care, more access to mental health, more access to testing,” Michael Buitron, an outreach specialist with the CARE Program at St. Mary Medical Center, told the Telegram. “If you’re a gay man without insurance or a gay man with insurance but you have a doctor who squirms when you mention your sexuality, you’re out of luck. You probably won’t get tested.”
For 2011, the last year complete data is available, 157 new HIV infections and 46 AIDS diagnoses were reported in Long Beach, compared with 127 new HIV infections and 46 new AIDS diagnoses in 2010, according to health department data, the Telegram reports.
For 2012, which the health department is still collecting data, 137 new HIV cases and 53 AIDS diagnoses have been reported. Of those people infected, 87 percent were men and 74 percent of them contracted the virus through male-to-male sexual contact, the article said.