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New Study Finds HIV Rates Among MSM Vastly Higher Than General Population in Developing Countries
Date:11/30/2007

r and sexual identities defy Western categorization.

"Even in countries that have made progress overall, we are still seeing very high rates of HIV among MSM," said Dr. Stefan Baral, lead author of the study and resident physician, Department of Epidemiology, Center for Public Health and Human Rights.

Kevin Frost, amfAR's chief executive officer, called on policymakers to provide the resources to match the severity of the epidemic among MSM.

"Populations with very high HIV prevalence are largely ignored in HIV prevention policies," said Frost. "Increased surveillance, research, and HIV prevention can curb HIV transmission among MSM and reduce the global HIV burden. But if we don't overcome institutional prejudices and treat this epidemic seriously in the populations that are most affected, we will never beat AIDS."

The study reinforces the view that the HIV epidemic among MSM is widespread and in many cases exacerbated by stigma, criminalization and lack of services. Eighty-five countries around the world criminalize male-male sex, yet donor funding for HIV prevention flows through some of the same governments whose policies criminalize or discriminate against MSM. According to UNAIDS, fewer than one in 20 MSM around the world has access to HIV prevention, treatment, and care - and far fewer in lower income settings. Compared to the HIV testing rates of 63-85 percent seen among MSM in Australia, Europe, and North America, rates among MSM in much of Africa, Asia, and Latin America are often under 20 percent.

"This study not only reveals how severe the epidemic is among MSM in many countries, but how huge the research gaps are," said Dr. Chris Beyrer, a co-author of the study and director of the Johns Hopkins Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program in the United States. "HIV transmission among MSM is not regularly tracked in most countries, and more research is urgently needed to inform more effective HIV p
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SOURCE amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research
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