18 July 2016
By Taliesin Cormach - QL SA
At the AIDS 2016 LGBT pre-conference held at the Durban International Convention Centre in South Africa on Saturday, MSM Global Fund co-chair Don Baxter said most of the mainstream discussions on HIV and Aids did not involve men who have sex with men.
Homophobia, violence, and provider stigma make it difficult for gay men to access the services they need.
Gay and bisexual men are losing the HIV/Aids fight as mainstream rhetoric is trumpeted over the reality of prevention within the MSM (men who have sex with men) community.
Gay, transsexual, and bisexual communities are underfunded, understudied, and underrepresented everywhere
Baxter said Aids 2016 was likely to see a watershed response to HIV, but warned that there had to be a turning point because the “rhetoric” that would come from the conference “is not the case for the gay community”.
“The MSM community is being left behind. We have looked at the assessments of what is happening among the MSM community and it is not a terrific picture if you analyse prevalence, policy, and stigma,” he said.
MSM Global Fund United States executive director George Ayala said HIV prevalence was still disproportionately high among gay and bisexual men worldwide.
He said global leaders were celebrating the HIV decrease but the MSM community could not celebrate because they had “unfinished business”.
“The LGBT community are open targets for violence worldwide. Our societies make it easy. Violence complicates the ability to respond to HIV and people’s health,” he said.
Insufficient International funding further hampered the fight against HIV and Aids in the gay community. “We get pennies then are made to feel we should be grateful for it.”