May 26, 2011
PEPFAR's recent release of its "Technical Guidance on Combination HIV Prevention" (.pdf) for men who have sex with men (MSM) "could force countries like Kenya who are strongly opposed to men having sex with men to backtrack," Nairobi Star/allAfrica.com reports. Because homosexual acts are illegal in some countries, including Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Zimbabwe, "there are no policies or services targeting HIV interventions towards them," according to the publication.
The guidance "highlights the importance of addressing key barriers like stigma, discrimination, human rights abuses and criminalization of same-sex activity, but it offers no specific recommendations on how to do so," the newspaper notes. George Ayala, executive officer of the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF), said, "If PEPFAR is serious about addressing barriers like stigma and criminalization, a clear set of steps must be offered for Country Missions to tackle these difficult challenges," the publication reports (Neondo, 5/25).
In a seminar in Nairobi on Tuesday, Hanna Dagnachew, a PEPFAR senior program adviser, reiterated that young women were at a higher risk of HIV infection than men, Nairobi Star/allAfrica.com reports. The workshop also called for increasing youth's knowledge base of HIV/AIDS, giving youth economic opportunities, and encouraging safe sex behavior to help fight the disease among this age group (Rajab, 5/25).