VANCOUVER — The number of new HIV diagnoses in British Columbia has steadily declined in the past decade, but not for gay and bisexual men, who have shown no meaningful decreases and accounted for nearly two-thirds of new cases in 2012, according to a new report from British Columbia’s provincial health officer, the Globe and Mail reports.
Perry Kendall released the report, co-authored with Mark Gilbert from the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, on Monday, noting a complex interaction of societal and structural drivers has resulted in gay and bisexual men carrying a disproportionate burden of HIV in B.C. These include individual factors such as sexual behavior and HIV testing, as well as outside factors such as stigma, marginalization, poor social supports and other systemic challenges to HIV prevention, the article said.
“While there has been considerable advancement in understanding and treating HIV, and related successes in reducing HIV incidence overall in B.C., existing programs and initiatives have not resulted in meaningful reductions in HIV incidence among gay and bisexual men since the early 2000s,” the report stated.
“This exposure group currently makes up the largest number and proportion of new HIV diagnoses in B.C. Renewing HIV prevention in B.C. requires working with gay and bisexual men to address the many drivers of the epidemic and making meaningful improvements in HIV prevention within this important exposure group.”