Men who have sex with men need to shoulder more of the burden for preventing new HIV infections among MSM in China, the head of the China Program of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation said during a news broadcast Friday.
Unprotected sex between men has become the main route of HIV infection in Beijing this year, according to the city's disease control and prevention agency. By the end of 2009, HIV transmission among MSM accounted for 32.5 percent of total infections in China, according to the Ministry of Health.
HIV's spread through unprotected sex among MSM remains "one of the biggest emerging challenges" to controlling HIV, Dr. Ray Yip told CNC World, a satellite news program operated by Xinhua. Social pressures force many MSM with HIV to remain hidden, reluctant to disclose their infections, Yip said. In addition, many MSM are poorly informed about safe-sex practices.
"We need the MSM group to engage their community to take part in the intervention," Yip said. "Will they promote safe sex? Will they be promoting early testing? Will they be supporting people already with HIV? So the key is their involvement in the prevention."
The Gates Foundation has committed $50 million for HIV prevention efforts in China, where it promotes prevention services among high-risk groups and those infected, HIV screening and reducing stigma.
"We fund government programs in about 15 cities across China to work with [non-governmental organizations] who fund high-risk communities, such as MSM, to mobilize and develop their capacity to do the prevention," Yip said.
"We give away condoms and brochures in gay bars and parks, set up a free hotline, and conduct salons or lectures regularly," said Luo, head of the volunteer-led Zhitong organization, who would only give his surname. The group is supported by the foundation and local health agencies.
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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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