More than three decades after the emergence of HIV and AIDS sparked a massive campaign to curb infection, public health officials in Chicago and across the country are worried by a recent uptick in diagnoses of HIV — the precursor to AIDS — among young gay and bisexual men.
While transmission of the virus via injectable drug use and heterosexual sex has declined dramatically since the peak of the epidemic in the mid-1980s, infection of men who have sex with men is a different story.
New HIV infections in that group plummeted from a peak of about 75,000 per year to less than 18,000 per year by the early 1990s, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. But the drop was short-lived, and infections currently hover around 30,000 per year. Experts say it’s younger men, especially young black men, who are driving that trend.