Homosexual men accounted for the largest proportion of HIV/AIDS diagnoses, reported the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in a study released on Dec. 1 to commemorate World AIDS Day.
According to Dr. Ronald Valdiserri, the deputy director of the National Center for HIV, STD and TB prevention, here at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 44 percent of the 125,800 HIV/AIDS diagnoses are homosexual men while 34 percent are from those with heterosexual contact. Drug use is responsible for 16 percent of diagnoses.
The study was conducted in 32 states between 2000 and 2003. New York, California and 16 other states did not meet reporting standards to be included in the study.
An increase of 11 percent in infections was diagnosed among men who have sex with men.
There are 850,000 to 950,000 persons living with HIV, according to Valdiserri. He said that while overall, nationally, the epidemic as been relatively stable, there are pockets of persistent challenge, particularly in terms of racial and ethnic disparities and some of the new challenges we're facing are among men who have sex with men.
Opponents of homosexuality have argued that the overall homosexual lifestyle is sexually promiscuous leading to the spreading of diseases such syphilis, HIV and AIDS. Pro-family groups have pointed to statistics showing high rates of HIV/AIDS infection to undermine arguments that say marriage for same-sex couples would not negatively affect society.
Valdiserri said during the press conference that abstinence is the most effective way to prevent the sexual transmission of HIV.
[W[e identify abstinence as the most effective means of preventing HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, he said. And so in our materials related to preventing the sexual transmission of HIV, and materials related to condom use, for instance, we are always very mindful of stressing the fact that abstinence is the most effective means of preventing transmission.