The needKent Klindera, amfAR, on HIV epidemic amongst MSM in the Asia Pacific region
Gay men, other MSM and transgender individuals who are living with HIV in the developing world suffer double discrimination, and this has a profound impact. Despite being 19 times more likely to be infected than the general population, MSM have been identified as a neglected population in low and middle-income countries. In my opinion, this has everything to do with homophobia and transphobia, compounded by a general lack of resources in these areas.
A study of 16 countries in the Asia-Pacific region revealed that no more than 2% of MSM in those countries had access to HIV prevention programmes. So, it’s clear that stigma and discrimination against MSM can impact on an individual’s ability to access prevention and other healthcare services. What’s more, sexual orientation and HIV status can both also affect educational and career opportunities. amfAR’s programme concentrates on supporting gay men, other MSM and transgender individuals in the developing world, as there has been a lack of investment and focus on this high-risk population. As a result, we’re seeing alarming increases in HIV prevalence among MSM in many parts of Asia and the Pacific, as in other low and middle-income countries, and MSM living with HIV in these parts of the world are not getting adequate support.