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New Asia Pacific Statistics Reveal an Alarming Incidence of HIV in MSM
Date:11/28/2007

ananda Khan, APCOM Chairperson and CEO of Naz Foundation International. ''Less than one in ten MSM in the region have access to any sort of HIV services, woefully short of the eight in ten that UNAIDS describes as optimal coverage necessary for high-risk groups. Is it any surprise then that we really don't have a clear picture of the true extent of the HIV crisis affecting men who have sex with men?''

Edmund Settle, HIV/AIDS Programme Manager for UNDP China, concurs. ''You've got these really alarming statistics of ten, 20, 30 percent HIV infection rates among MSM in some major cities, but when you ask whether this picture holds true across other urban centres, or even in suburban or rural areas, the answer's not at all simple. It ranges from 'Yes, it's somewhat likely' to 'Well, we're not really certain.' Still, we do know more today than just a couple of years ago.''

That growing clarity comes from a recent review of available data, soon to be released by UNAIDS, that describes the epidemiology of HIV and sexually transmitted infections (STI), and behaviours of MSM in the Asia Pacific region that put them at considerable risk of HIV and STI. As the paper states: ''Severe and established HIV epidemics are found among MSM in some countries while imminent or beginning HIV epidemics were observed in others.'' The review also recommends ways to change policy and programming that would confront this challenge and help improve the situation.

''This collection of data in the upcoming review allows us to highlight more accurately than before the extent of the HIV scenario vis-a-vis MSM in our region,'' according to Geoff Manthey, Regional Advisor on MSM for Asia Pacific UNAIDS Regional Support Team (RST-AP). "It also comes at a most opportune time, with the recent creation of the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health. We hope that the work of APCOM, and its strength in bringing together representatives from governments, the UN system, donors and
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SOURCE Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health
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