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International News

Most Gay Men in Asia Have No Access to HIV Prevention, Care

August 18, 2009

HIV prevention efforts targeting men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender persons are lacking in many Asian countries, making them much more vulnerable to infection, warned speakers at the recent ninth International Congress on AIDS in Asia and the Pacific in Bali, Indonesia.

A 2006 survey of HIV prevention programs in 15 Asia-Pacific countries found that less than 10 percent of MSM and transgender persons were being reached -- well short of the 80 percent needed to turn the epidemic around. Barriers to reaching these high-risk groups include stigma and laws against consensual same-sex relations.

Some 20 countries in the region criminalize male-to-male sex, and these laws often lead to abuse and human rights violations via arbitrary and excessive enforcement. The result is that MSM- and transgender-targeted HIV interventions, advocacy, outreach, and services are driven underground, said experts.

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"One of the key challenges for overcoming barriers to prevent HIV is to promote the formulation of humane laws and policies that enable people to participate in addressing the disease in a cooperative manner, rather than driving those living with HIV underground," said Vitit Muntarbhorn, a law professor at Chulalongkorn University.

"For this reason, it is essential to advocate the adoption of laws which do not lead to discrimination and marginalization, and to provide space to respect sexual activities between consenting adults in the private sphere in their diversity," said Vitit.

Back to other news for August 2009

Adapted from:
The Nation (Bangkok)
08.13.2009


  
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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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