HIV stands for the human immunodeficiency virus and is a disease that affects the CD4 immune cells in humans.

HIV is transmitted through 4 fluids: blood, semen/pre-cum, vaginal/anal secretions and breast milk. Certain behaviors can promote the transfer of HIV such as sex without a condom, injection drug use, breast feeding, gestation, occupational exposure and tattoos or piercing with reused implements.

In order to reduce exposure and risk of sexual transmitting HIV, one can use male or female condoms, dental dams, viral load monitoring and suppression and PEP/PrEP.

HIV will develop into AIDS when the CD4 cell count falls less than 200. Globally collected data revealed that men who have sex with men or MSM are 19 times more likely to be living with HIV than the general population.

Among all MSM, black men appear to be disproportionately affected by HIV. In 2010, gay and bisexual black men accounted for 36% of new HIV infections. Specifically, in 2014, 39% of black men aged 13-24 were diagnosed with HIV. Looking at New York City specifically, it leads the nation in the number of new HIV cases. It was discovered that more than 114,000 New Yorkers are living with HIV/AIDs, 20% of who do not know they are infected. To this date, over 100,000 New Yorkers have died from AIDS-related causes. HIV is the third leading cause of death for NYC residents ages 35 to 54. Men who have sex with men in NYC account for 68% of new HIV diagnoses in 2016. And African Americans and Hispanics in NYC account for 81% of new HIV diagnoses and AIDS-related deaths. (1)

Estimated New HIV Diagnoses Among the Most-Affected Subpopulations, 2014—United States