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As AIDS Conference Opens, amfAR Releases Report Exposing Global Failure to Address HIV Among MSM
Date:8/4/2008

DS spending in the region.

amfAR's report studied 128 country reports submitted to the United Nations, and found that nearly half of countries (44%) failed to provide any data whatsoever on MSM. Despite a unanimous commitment that all UN member countries made in 2001 to monitor HIV among high-risk groups, the report found that 71 percent of countries said they did not have any information on the percentage of MSM reached by HIV prevention programs. Much of this failure can be attributed to a lack of leadership from both national governments and the institutions charged with leading the global response to HIV/AIDS.

"World leaders are finally saying the right things, but they need to follow their words with actions," said amfAR CEO Kevin Frost. "The failure of the Global Fund, PEPFAR, the World Bank, and the world's other global health bodies to devote significant resources toward reducing HIV rates among MSM is indefensible. These organizations have policies on women, drug users, migration -- but not one of them has a comprehensive policy on MSM."

The report also includes an update on the state of the global epidemic among MSM, identifying Kenya, Jamaica, Benin, Thailand, and Ghana as the countries with the highest reported HIV prevalence among MSM. Although data on MSM are scarce, the report found that MSM are 18 times more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population in Asia and at least 4 times more likely in Africa.

The report also found that criminalization of male-male sexual activity is a major driver of the epidemic among MSM in many countries. Seven out of the 10 countries with the highest reported prevalence among MSM criminalize homosexuality. Globally, 86 countries criminalize male-male sexual activity, and in seven countries, male-male sexual activity is punishable by death. This institutionalized stigma and discrimination frequently prevents MSM from accessing even basic HIV/AIDS services.

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SOURCE American Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)
Copyright©2008 PR Newswire.
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