March 11, 2013 - About two weeks ago the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) released an updated HIV report entitled: Diagnoses of HIV Infection in the United States and Dependent Areas, 2011. In reviewing this new report I clicked thru to other related pages and found the table1
(to the right) showing HIV by transmission category. Though I had read about HIV transmission rates in the secular press I had never before seen the actual numbers. As I began to review and analyze them I was shocked at what this analysis revealed.
A review of the data in this table shows that 78.7% of all HIV diagnoses in men occurred in the homosexual population vs. 11.8% in heterosexual men.2
This disparity would be striking even in a population divided evenly between homosexual and heterosexual men. But of course homosexual orientation is far less common than heterosexual. Kinsey set the figure at 10%, though few now regard that figure as accurate, but the CDC as late as May 2012 set it at 2%. Here is the quote from the relevant CDC document.
"MSM represent approximately 2 percent of the US population, but account for 61 percent of all new HIV infections and more than half of people living with HIV." 3
More recently the CDC has also started using a 4% number.4
Since the percentage of the populations that is homosexual is not know with any certainty and is a highly contentious issue, both CDC numbers have been used to provide an upper and lower range for this analysis of risk.
The rate of HIV diagnosis in homosexual men is 6.67 higher than in heterosexual men. (78.7% / 11.8%). Using the higher CDC population estimate of 4% for homosexual men, there are 24X more heterosexual men. That means that homosexual men are 160X more likely to contract HIV then heterosexual men (6.67 x 24). The same analysis using the lower population estimate of 2% homosexual men yields a 327 fold increase in risk. Restated on a percentage basis, homosexual men have a 16,000% to 32,700% increased likelihood of contracting HIV over a heterosexual man.
To put this increased risk in context, consider what the CDC tells us about risk of lung cancer for men who smoke: 23x higher than for those who don't.5
As a society we have done an excellent job over the last couple of decades in educating kids about the risks and hazards of smoking. Given the orders of magnitude greater risk to HIV from male-to-male sexual contact, an even greater education effort needs to be undertaken regarding HIV transmission.
It is necessity that parents and their kids, especially those just beginning to develop their sexual identity are aware of this staggering increase in risk. It is also imperative that homosexual support organizations in schools like Gay Straight Alliances, GLSEN, and others fully disclose to all kids they come in contact with these most serious health risks. Lastly, it should be compulsory for health professionals to discuss these increased health risks with their patients who are engaging in or contemplating engaging in such activities.
2. Homosexual Men: 30,573/38,824 = 78.7%; Heterosexual Men: 4,588/38,824 =11.8%