As with vaginal microbicides, safe and effective rectal microbicides are urgently needed by millions of people. Anal intercourse is a common human sexual behavior, practiced by approximately 5 10% of the world's general population, including heterosexual women and men, gay men, and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Because an act of unprotected anal intercourse is 10 to 20 times more likely to result in HIV transmission compared to unprotected vaginal intercourse, it is likely that unprotected anal intercourse is a significant driver in the global HIV epidemic.
"Certainly, for gay men and other MSM across the world, unprotected anal intercourse is the chief cause of HIV infection," said IRMA Chair Jim Pickett. "But the world has largely ignored gay men, and anal intercourse. Gay men and other MSM are under-represented in most national AIDS strategies, in epidemiology, surveillance, and in research, if they show up at all. They have been woefully underserved by prevention, care, treatment and support services. "Similarly," he continued, "there is a paucity of data regarding anal intercourse homosexual and heterosexual due to politics, stigma, criminalization, and outright denial."
Globally, gay men and other MSM are 19 times more likely to be HIV infected compared to the general population. These disproportionate rates extend to Africa, where the epidemic is often characterized as "heterosexual." In Uganda for instance, HIV rates among gay men and other MSM are just above 40% compared to 5% for men of reproductive age. In South Africa, where the global AIDS pandemic is most severe, the HIV rates between gay men/MSM and men of reproductive age are almost the same both hovering around 15%.
Comparing gay men and other MSM to both males and females of reproductive age, gay men and MSM are 1.3 times more likely to be HIV-infected in Eastern Europe, 3.8 times more likely in Africa, 18.7
|Contact: Jim Pickett|
International Rectal Microbicide Advocates