Openly gay CDC HIV chief reflects on ‘humbling’ journey
Dr. Kevin Fenton has much to be proud of during his eight years at the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, especially the strong relationships he and the federal agency forged with local and community-based organizations.
Fenton steps down from his position as director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD & TB Prevention after a seven-year tenure on Dec. 21 and returns to his home in the U.K. on Dec. 31.
Dr. Rima Khabbaz, director of the Office of Infectious Diseases, will begin serving as acting director of NCHHSTP on Jan. 2, 2013, while a national search is conducted to select a permanent director.
Dr. Kevin Fenton, an openly gay man, announced in a letter to colleagues today that he is leaving his position as the director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention for the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Fenton said in the letter he would leave his post by the end of the year and will move back to his home country of England to work as the Director for Health Improvement and Population Health for Public Health England, a new organization opening in April 2013.
Today, Sept. 27, is National Gay Men's HIV/AIDS Awareness Day and the Center's for Disease Control & Prevention is urging gay and bisexual men to get tested for HIV. In the U.S., men who have sex with men continue to be the demographic that has the most new infections each year.
According to the CDC, gay and bisexual men represent 2 percent of the U.S. population,"yet account for more than half of both new HIV infections each year and Americans living with HIV. Since the beginning of the epidemic, nearly 350,000 gay and bisexual men with AIDS have died, and more than 8,000 still die each year."
The latest numbers are staggering: 61 percent of new HIV infections in the U.S. are among gay and bisexual men, although this population accounts for only 2 percent of the country’s population, according to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention.
Among black gay and bisexual men, the numbers are even more dire, with the CDC reporting a 48 percent increase in new HIV infections ages 13-29 between 2006-2009.
But funding for HIV prevention and research for gay and bisexual men is about half what it should be, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, the CDC’s director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.
On National Black HIV/AIDS Awareness Day, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention is pressing for an end to a health epidemic that disproportionately affects African Americans.
According to the CDC, African Americans make up just 14 percent of the total U.S. population, but account for nearly half of all HIV/AIDS cases in the country.
At current infection rates, one in 16 African-American men will be diagnosed with HIV in their lifetime, and one in 32 African-American women will contract the virus.
Many factors account for such a high rate among African-Americans, but more resources are available now than ever before, said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of CDC’s National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention.
Efforts to end 'black HIV/AIDS epidemic' focus on prevention
"Testing Makes Us Stronger," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's new HIV testing campaign targeting young black gay and bisexual men, is the federal government's first foray into specifically asking gay and bisexual men help stem the wave of new HIV infections with community input into the campaign.
The Atlanta-based CDC determined figures that show that in 2006, there were 4,400 HIV infections among black gay and bisexual men ages 13-29. The numbers jumped to 6,500 infections in 2009 within the same age group, for a momentous increase of 48 percent. This subpopulation represents the only subpopulation in the U.S. to experience a statistically significant increase of new HIV infections during these three years.
Kevin Fenton, the openly gay director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, said black gay and bisexual men are one of the population's hardest hit by HIV and "the name for this campaign could not be clearer."
CDC's campaign one of first federally focused programs on gay men
“If him hanging out with his bros means he’s gay, it’s like further perpetuating that weird homophobia that exists in our culture, which is just stupid. So, yeah, he’s my buddy. I f--kin’ love the guy.” — Maro...
Nearly one in five gay and bisexual men in a study of 21 U.S. cities has HIV with almost half of them not knowing their status, according to a new study published today by the Centers for Disease Control & Protection. And those hardest hit, according to the study, are men of color and men under the age of 30.