Epidemiological Profile of HIV/AIDS in Minnesota

Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)

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HIV/AIDS Prevalence among MSM

Since the beginning of the HIV epidemic, the majority of HIV/AIDS cases in Minnesota have been among MSM. As of December 31st, 2012, MSM and those with the joint risk of MSM and IDU accounted for over half (56%) of the 7,516 people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota.

Rate of HIV among MSM

Men who have sex with Men have the highest rate of persons living with and new diagnoses of HIV/AIDS than any other sub-group. In 2012, the estimated rate of people living with HIV/AIDS among MSM was 4,568.5 per 100,000 population. This is more than 60 times higher than the rate among non-MSM men (73 per 100,000 population). The estimated rate of new diagnoses among MSM in 2012 was 191.8 per 100,000 population. This is more than 50 times higher than the rate of diagnoses among non-MSM men (3.7 per 100,000 population). It’s important to note that MSM contains cases from all racial/ethnic categories and therefore cannot be directly compared to the rates by race/ethnicity.

HIV Diagnoses among MSM

MSM made up 53 percent of newly reported HIV cases in Minnesota in 2012. Over the past decade, the number of newly reported HIV infections among MSM has slowly trended upward, from 130 cases in 2003, to 167 in 2012 with a peak of 214 cases in 2009. In 2012, nearly half (49%) of MSM living with HIV/AIDS resided in Minneapolis, followed by 12 percent in St. Paul.


While the majority (59%) of new HIV infections diagnosed between 2010 and 2012 were white, the proportion of new diagnoses among men differs by race/ethnicity. Of the new HIV infections diagnosed among males between 2010 and 2012, MSM or MSM/IDU were estimated to account for 97 percent of cases among Hispanic males, 95 percent of cases among White males,  84 percent of cases among African American males, and 18 percent of cases among African-born males. During the same time period, 100 percent of all Asian males had MSM as their mode of exposure and 77 percent among American Indian males; however the number of new diagnoses during this time is too small to make further generalizations about risk.

Age at Diagnosis

The majority of MSM and MSM/IDU living with HIV in 2012 were over the age of 40 (72%). Youth (persons between the ages of 13 and 24) accounted for 4 percent of living MSM and MSM/IDU cases. Although young MSM make up a small percentage of all MSM living with HIV/AIDS, the number of new infections among this group more than quadrupled from 15 in 2001 to 74 in 2009. In 2012, the number of new infections among young MSM and MSM/IDU decreased to 47. However, young MSM or MSM/IDU still accounted for nearly 1 out of 5 newly reported male cases in 2012, and are still a population of concern. For more information about HIV infection in youth, please see the Adolescent and Young Adult section of this document.
The reason behind the increase in HIV infections among young MSM in Minnesota is somewhat unclear. However, 61 percent of young male cases were interviewed in 2009, and behaviors most commonly reported included anonymous sex, using technology (e.g., chat rooms), having multiple partners, and using condoms infrequently.


MSM/IDU represent a smaller number of cases, accounting for 5 percent of people living with HIV/AIDS in Minnesota and 3 percent of newly reported HIV infections in 2012.  For more information about the demographics of MSM/IDU risk group please see the Injection Drug Use section of this document.

HIV Treatment Cascade among MSM and MDM/IDU

There were 3,687 HIV positive persons with MSM as their identified risk and 372 with MSM/IDU as their risk included in the HIV Treatment Cascade (PDF: 952KB/2 pages) analyses. Compared to the overall HIV treatment cascade in Minnesota, people who have an identified HIV risk of MSM have slightly higher percentages of retention in care as well as viral suppression. MSM have the highest percentage of viral suppression than any other risk group at 65 percent. MSM/IDU have very similar percentages of retention in care as well as viral suppression as compared to the overall cascade for Minnesota.

There were 157 cases among MSM reported in 2011 that were included to calculate linkage to care. Seventy-eight percent of MSM linked to care within three months of their initial HIV diagnosis in 2011. This is one percentage point lower than the overall cascade. There were not enough cases among MSM/IDU reported in 2011 to be able to calculate the linkage to care measure.

Updated Monday, May 05, 2014 at 08:50AM