April 30, 2013
Major regional networks of men who have sex with men (MSM) and the Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) have united to advocate for increased HIV prevention funding and access to services for gay and other MSM. Partners in the consortium include the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health, the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights, Asociacion para la Salud Integral y Ciudadania en America Latina y el Caribe, the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities Coalition, the European Coalition on Male Health, and MSMGF. The consortium will work to coordinate the work of human rights organizations and HIV service providers worldwide.
Although HIV prevalence is much higher among MSM worldwide, only two percent of global HIV funding goes to MSM programs, according to Dr. George Ayala, executive director of MSMGF. Recent data indicate HIV prevalence among MSM is 15 percent in South Asia, 18 percent in sub-Saharan Africa, 25 percent in the Caribbean, 15 percent in Latin America, and 6.6 percent in Central Asia and Eastern Europe.
Ayala stated that MSM-led grassroots organizations often are best at providing HIV services. However, they often face hostility because of homophobia, and they lack funding and capacity-building support. Ayala stated that the consortium members will be well-positioned to hear concerns of grassroots organizations and to provide technical assistance with community-based research and to advocate for policy changes and increased funding.
The coalition's priority issues include advocating to assure funding from the Global Fund is apportioned according to the disease burden, establishing a "global emergency response system" to support MSM activists, and documenting LGBT-led organizations' roles in responding to HIV among MSM.