Wednesday, September 27, marks National Gay Men’s HIV/AIDS Awareness Day (#NGMHAAD) 2023. It’s an opportunity to call attention to the epidemic’s disproportionate impact on men who have sex with men—and to promote HIV prevention, testing and treatment among this population.

The awareness day was founded in 2008 by the now-defunct National Association for People with AIDS, writes, which also offers a series of downloadable graphics and posters. Search #NGMHAAD on social media for a variety of campaigns and events, such as free HIV testing sites, online discussions and film screenings, several examples of which are embedded throughout this article. 

In 2021, gay and bisexual men represented over half (57%) of the HIV population in the United States. Specifically, of the nearly 1.2 million people living with HIV, 620,181 are gay or bisexual men, according to the most recent data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Gay and bi men face unique challenges when it comes to HIV, such as homophobia. Intersecting stigmas and discrimination, including racism and agism, often compound their barriers to accessing related health care., which creates interactive maps and sharable graphics based on HIV data, offers more insight on intersecting stigmas:

“While new HIV diagnoses dropped by 34% for white gay and bisexual men from 2008 to 2021, there was only a 4% decrease for Black gay and bisexual men. Among Hispanic/Latino gay and bisexual men, new HIV diagnoses actually increased 23%. At a time when new diagnoses for gay and bisexual men are overall declining, this increase shows how prominent this disparity is for gay and bisexual men of color.

“Racial disparities are also visible along the HIV care continuum, a public health model that outlines the stages of care people living with HIV go through from diagnosis to achieving and maintaining viral suppression. In 2021, Black gay and bisexual men and Hispanic gay and bisexual men living with HIV had lower rates of viral suppression, 63% and 67% respectively, compared to white gay and bisexual men living with HIV (74%).

“Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) is a tool that can be used to prevent HIV transmission. However, PrEP use varies widely across the U.S. For example, there are 54.1 male PrEP users per 1,000 gay and bisexual men in Kentucky, compared to 161.3 male PrEP users per 1,000 gay and bisexual men in New York. Access to PrEP is an essential aspect of overall access to health care, but there are still barriers that prevent its wider use.”

In related news, the current issue of POZ profiles two gay Latino men. See “Queen Moxie Is Ready for Her Close-Up,” about a drag performing living with HIV, and “The Modern Art of HIV Disclosure,” about actor and artist David Anzuelo, who kept his HIV status a secret for two decades.