Australia: Global Effort to Prevent HIV in Male-to-Male Sex Launched
July 24, 2007
Today at the 4th International AIDS Conference in Sydney, the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) announced a $3 million, three-year global campaign to support grassroots HIV prevention efforts targeting developing-nation men who have sex with men (MSM).
"It is an escalating crisis, with squeamish governments denying the existence of MSM and their vulnerability to HIV," said Kevin Frost, interim CEO of amfAR. "Research is a critical area. In China, 80 percent of MSM are married and don't move in social groups that we have historically reached out to."
So far, amfAR has raised $1 million for the campaign, which will focus on MSM in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe. Male-to-male sex is illegal in 85 countries, and the marginalization of MSM makes it difficult for HIV prevention efforts to reach them and for MSM to access health care. As a result, there is little research into the extent of developing-world MSM HIV epidemics. Worldwide, just one in 20 MSM has access to HIV prevention, treatment and care, according to UNAIDS.
And there is evidence that HIV prevalence among MSM is worsening. HIV prevalence among MSM is 20 percent in Thailand, 38 percent in Kenya, 22 percent in Senegal and 27 percent in the Ukraine, UNAIDS data show.
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