Two June observances call attention to the well-being of men in our nation. With these observances, the HIV community can again educate the public about the impact of HIV and provide resources to help men know their HIV status, and get into care, stay in care and achieve viral suppression.
One annual observance is Men’s Health Month (MHM). Sponsored by the Men’s Health Network and partners in June, its purpose is to “to heighten the awareness of preventable health problems and encourage early detection and treatment of disease among men and boys. This month gives health care providers, public policy makers, the media, and individuals an opportunity to encourage men and boys to seek regular medical advice and early treatment for disease and injury.”
With a common purpose, Men’s Health Week (June 11-17, 2018) is observed within Men’s Health Month; its importance is reflected in many activities in communities across the nation.
Here’s some recent data to consider: Gay and bisexual men bear the greatest burden of HIV by risk group. About 70% of annual HIV infections are among gay and bisexual men. In 2016, Black/African American gay and bisexual men accounted for the largest number of HIV diagnoses (10,223), followed by Hispanic/Latino (7,425) and white (7,390) gay and bisexual men.
Given the continued impact of HIV on men—particularly gay and bisexual men—the HIV community can use these health observances to conduct HIV testing events, health fairs, and other health education and outreach activities.