Gay and bisexual men have bucked the trend of declining HIV diagnosis rates in the US, say researchers.
A report published by the Journal of the American Medical Association has found that the annual rate of diagnosis of the virus has dropped by a third in the wider US population over the last decade, but has risen among young gay and bisexual males.
According to HealthDay, the researchers found that significantly fewer heterosexual people and drug users were being diagnosed with HIV.
However, for men aged 13 to 24 the rate doubled, increasing from around 3,000 to about 7,000 diagnoses; attributed to young gay and bisexual men not using condoms.
“It’s been more than 30 years since the first cases were reported,” said report co-author Amy Lansky, from the CDC’s Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention. “It’s harder to maintain that sense of urgency.”
She added that the increase among gay and bisexual youth was “a considerable problem.”
Earlier this month, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommended that gay men and men who have sex with men take preventive antiretroviral medication (known as PrEP) as an additional method of preventing HIV infection, alongside the use of condoms.
The WHO said that the rates of HIV infection among men who have sex with men remain high almost everywhere and new prevention options are urgently needed.
It estimated that use of PrEP could reduce HIV incidence among men who have sex with men by 20-25%, averting up to 1 million new infections among this group over 10 years.