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In the fight for YMSM lives, will we help - or hurt?

A CDC report released today shatters the myth that young men of color are irresponsible with sexual health. The report, which examined the HIV risk behaviors of young men who have sex with men (YMSM), found that YMSM of color showed fewer risk behaviors than white YMSM.  YMSM of color are less likely to be using drugs or alcohol, and more likely to use condoms, than young white men.

Even though many Black YMSM are being responsible for their individual health, they face the highest risk of HIV and account for the majority of HIV cases among YMSM. Because of higher rates in Black communities, the potential partners of Black YMSM are more likely to be HIV positive.  Further, Black men who are HIV positive are less likely afford insurance coverage and therefore have less access to treatment – which can not only put their health at risk, but make them more likely to transmit the virus. Lower income and higher rates of unemployment and incarceration also contribute to the HIV epidemic among Black MSM.  

Sexual health is inextricably entwined with social, economic, and educational opportunities.  Young men who have sex with men face challenges in a world that continues to ignore their needs. YMSM of color carry the additional burden of the oppression and disparity wrought by racism.  While many clearly are doing their best to protect themselves from HIV and STIs, they can’t do it on their own. They need our help.

President’s Budget Supports Key Sexual Health Issues

On February 9, President Obama released his proposed budget for the 2017 Fiscal Year. Advocates for Youth appreciates the optimism and progress that the budget represents, maintaining funding for vital programs such as sex education and HIV prevention and care, and signaling the administration’s ongoing commitment to improving reproductive and sexual health for young people.  
We are especially pleased by the President’s decision to finally eradicate harmful abstinence-only-until-marriage (AOUM programs) by removing all current funding.

We were, however, disappointed at the missed opportunities to send a stronger message by removing the Hyde Amendment, increasing funding for programs that would strengthen and improve  HIV prevention and sex education, or restoring greater Title X funding. A summary of key reproductive and sexual health areas found in the budget are below.


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