Consider this: If current trends continue, about 1 in 2 black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States will be diagnosed with HIV during their lifetime. That sobering statistic was released in 2016 by researchers at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Don’t be fooled into thinking this statistic doesn’t apply to South Carolina or the Charleston region. At Palmetto Community Care, we see young black MSMs testing positive for HIV in larger numbers than the rest of the populations we test – it’s one of the reasons we put such an emphasis on reaching this particular group.Anyone who is sexually active should be tested for HIV. We encourage anyone – regardless of age, race, gender or socioeconomic background – to come into our office for a free, confidential HIV test. While we spread the message of HIV testing far and wide in our community, we do target some of our outreach efforts to certain groups of people.
You may have seen promotions and giveaways aimed at African-American MSMs and wondered, “Why that group?” One of our key focus areas is education, so we’re happy to talk about why certain groups are at risk and what we’re doing to reduce that “1 in 2” statistic in our community.