Philippines: AIDS Not Just About Gays
August 26, 2009
The Philippines Department of Health has launched a new survey to determine the prevalence of HIV infection among persons who engage in risky behaviors like drug injection and multi-partner sex. In particular, it will target a group that is increasingly affected by HIV: men who have sex with men (MSM) but who do not self-identify as gay.
Since 1984, most confirmed HIV infections in the Philippines were acquired through unprotected heterosexual intercourse, Dr. Eric Tayag, chief of the DOH's Epidemiology Center. But during the past three years, most cases involved sex between men.
Tayag explained the distinction between MSM and the openly gay men who are already targeted by prevention efforts. "The problem is [MSM] are a hidden population; they're not open," he said. Whereas gay men may congregate at known hangouts, self-identified straight men seeking sex with like-minded men tend to connect through the Internet.
The three-month survey is already underway, with results expected in November.
Philippine Daily Inquirer
08.26.2009; Dona Pazzilbugan
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.