June 19, 2012
Washington, D.C. -- The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) announced today a roster of high-level speakers now scheduled to appear at "From Stigma to Strength," the organization's fifth biennial Pre-Conference to the International AIDS Conference, to be held on July 21 in Washington, D.C. Speakers include Congresswoman Barbara Lee, Former Australian High Court Judge Michael Kirby, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention Dr. Kevin Fenton, and Jamaican activist Maurice Tomlinson. The event will host more than 600 of the world's leading experts in HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people, addressing the implications of recent developments in science and policy for these key populations.
"The way we handle HIV among MSM, transgender people and other key groups will shape the course of the global epidemic," says MSMGF Executive Director Dr. George Ayala. "With the prevention potential of treatment confirmed and major shifts in the global financing architecture expected, the international HIV landscape is changing rapidly. Our Pre-Conference will address the impact of these changes on MSM and transgender people and aim to identify the best steps forward."
The event comes at a time when HIV rates among MSM in countries as diverse as Mexico, Jamaica and Zambia have reached 25 percent, 31 percent and 32 percent, respectively. In the United States, where the conference returns for the first time in 22 years, MSM account for more than half of all people living with HIV and more than 60 percent of new infections.
"At the last International AIDS Conference, only 2.6 percent of sessions focused on MSM and 1.1 percent of sessions focused on transgender people," explains Dr. Ayala. "With such low program coverage focused on our communities at the International AIDS Conference, the MSMGF Pre-Conference offers a unique and crucial opportunity to address the most pressing issues concerning the health and human rights of MSM and transgender people around the world."
Confirmed speakers at this year's MSMGF Pre-Conference include:
More details on the MSMGF Pre-Conference, "From Stigma to Strength: Strategies for MSM, Transgender People and Allies in a Shifting AIDS Landscape," can be found at www.msmgf.org/aids2012.