(originally published on www.preventionjustice.org)
Today the New York Times published a batch of letters responding to their editorial on rising HIV rates in young gay men. Since they didn’t publish my letter written as CHAMP staff, I thought I’d do it here (This is why we love the Internet!):
The January 14th editorial, “HIV Rises in Young Gay Men,” spent a lot of energy blaming 19-year olds, and ignored core issues that hamper effective prevention efforts.
A recent Journal of Adolescent Health study counted youth homelessness as a major factor in HIV risk. The New York City Council commissioned a 2007 report showing that one-third of all homeless youth in NYC were gay.
Congress continues to bankroll abstinence-only education programs in spite of the proven increase risk behavior they cause. Though the HIV epidemic grows worse in black and Latino communities, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) budget has remained stagnant for a decade.
We still have no national HIV prevention plan, 27 years into the epidemic.
Young gay men are not to blame for the profound failure of government to provide comprehensive HIV prevention—nor for the media’s continued ignorance of the root causes of HIV.