There has been a recent resurgence of HIV infection among men who have sex with men, particularly in industrialized countries. Data are also emerging of new or newly identified HIV epidemics among men who have sex with men in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. Generally, men who have sex with men are nearly 20 times more likely to be infected with HIV than general populations. HIV infection rates among transgender people range between eight–68 percent depending on the country or region.
One reason for this is the stigma experienced by many men who have sex with men and transgender people. In many countries, criminalization of same sex relationships drives such relationships underground, making people afraid to seek HIV prevention and treatment services. WHO and its partners advise more inclusive approaches and suggest some practical ways to improve their access to HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care services.
"We cannot imagine fully reversing the global spread of HIV without addressing the specific HIV needs of these key populations," said Doctor Gottfried Hirnschall, WHO's Director of HIV/AIDS Department. "We are issuing these guidelines to help countries and communities scale-up the services needed to reduce new infections and save lives."
"Men who have sex with men and transgender people everywhere face huge difficulties in accessing HIV services," said George Ayala, Executive Director of the Global Forum MSM & HIV (MSMGF), a key partner in producing the recommendations. "The guidelines both present evidence for effective prevention interventions for these populations and provide recommendations to help ensure that pervasive barriers like stigma and criminalization no longer stand in the way of life-saving services.”
"Urgent action is needed to ensure that the basic human rights of people most at risk of HIV infection are respected and that they have the information and tools to protect themselves against HIV and gain access to antiretroviral therapy if needed,” said Mariângela Simào, Chief, Prevention, Vulnerability and Rights, UNAIDS.
MEDICA.de; Source: World Health Organization