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International News

Study Says Gay, Bisexual Men Still at High Risk for HIV

August 5, 2008

Globally, men who have sex with men are 19 times more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population, yet MSM are ignored by many UN member states that pledged to monitor the disease among at-risk groups, according to a report by the American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR).

Among the 128 country reports submitted to UNAIDS, 44 percent failed to provide any data on MSM, said amfAR, which released the report Monday at the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. A higher proportion, 77 percent, of the countries had no information on the proportion of MSM reached by HIV prevention programs.

"The failure of the Global Fund [to Fight AIDS, TB and Malaria], PEPFAR [the U.S. President's Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief], the World Bank, and the world's other global health bodies to devote significant resources toward reducing HIV rates among MSM is indefensible," said Kevin Frost, amfAR's CEO. "These organizations have policies on women, drug users, migration, but not one of them has a comprehensive policy on MSM."

Asian MSM are 18 times more likely to be HIV-infected than the general population, and African MSM are at least four times more likely to be infected. In Latin America, MSM are 33 times more likely to be infected and account for nearly 25 percent of those infected. Nonetheless, MSM programs receive less than 1 percent of total HIV/AIDS spending in the region.

Criminalization of sex between males and institutionalized homophobia are key drivers of HIV/AIDS in many countries, preventing MSM from accessing even basic HIV services, the report concluded. In seven of 10 countries with the highest rates of HIV among MSM, homosexual activity is criminalized. And in seven UN member states, it is a capital crime.

For more information, visit this link (pdf).

Back to other news for August 2008

Adapted from:
8.04.2008; Tan Ee Lyn

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This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.
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