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Global survey reveals gaps in HIV programming for men who have sex with men.

A recently published global survey in English, Spanish, French, Russian and Chinese of more than 5,000 men who have sex with men (MSM) revealed a marginalised group of people with little access to free condoms, lubricants and HW behavioural and education interventions. The survey was conducted by the Global Forum on MSM & HIV between June and August 2010. It sought to highlight key gaps in global efforts to provide MSM with evidence-based HW prevention services. The majority of respondents were from Asia-Pacific, 14% from North America, 11% from Central/South America and the Caribbean, 7% from Australia/New Zealand, 6% from Europe, 4% from Africa and 1% from the Middle East. Over 1,000 participants were health care providers. 22% of respondents reported being HIV positive.

There were considerable regional variations in access to and participation in HIV prevention, with the lowest rates found in developing countries. The findings suggest that young MSM have less access to HIV prevention services and less knowledge of prevention strategies compared to older populations. The findings also show that across all regions both MSM and their health care providers lack knowledge of emerging HW prevention strategies, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PREP), but there was a reported strong desire to learn more about these. Reports of stigma and homophobia varied between regions, but were significantly associated with low access to basic HIV prevention strategies. The report recommends: universal access to basic HIV prevention among MSM in all parts of the world; targeted information campaigns to promote awareness of PrEP and other emerging strategies among MSM and their health care providers; addressing the stigma surrounding homosexuality and gay men that impedes health-seeking behaviours and access to health services; and a focus of attention on the HIV prevention needs of young MSM. (1)

(1.) Wilson P, Santos G-M, Hebert P, et al. Access to HIV prevention services and attitudes about emerging strategies: a global survey of men who have sex with men (MSM) and their health care providers. Global Forum on MSM and HIV, July 2011.

DOI: 10.1016/S0968-8080(11)38588-6

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Title Annotation:ROUND UP: HIV and AIDS
Publication:Reproductive Health Matters
Article Type:Brief article
Date:Nov 1, 2011
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