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Resources Dedicated To Fighting HIV/AIDS Among MSM ‘Inefficient,’ Report Says

“Funding to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS consistently fails to reach programs designed to control the disease among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM), according to a new analysis (.pdf) released Wednesday by amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights (CPHHR) at Johns Hopkins University,” an amfAR press release states. The report, titled “Achieving an AIDS-Free Generation for Gay Men and Other MSM,” “finds that resources dedicated to addressing the epidemic among MSM are grossly insufficient, and that funding intended for this population is often diverted away from MSM-related services,” the press release says (1/18). The Center for Global Health Policy’s “Science Speaks” blog notes, “The report authors looked at reporting data related to the U.S. President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) and the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria HIV funding in eight countries — China, Ethiopia, Guyana, India, Mozambique, Nigeria, Ukraine and Vietnam” (Mazzotta, 1/19).

Street News Service/IPS Examine Challenges Of Fighting HIV/AIDS In A Senegalese Prison

Street News Service/Inter Press Service examines how Senegal is addressing HIV/AIDS among prisoners in a Dakar maximum-security facility. “Prisons are high-risk environments for the transmission of the disease, due to the prevalence of hard drugs, violence and sexual relations,” the news service writes and discusses how addressing such issues can present challenges in the majority-Muslim country. “There is no mandatory testing in prison, and for those prisoners who, either knowingly or unknowingly, are living with HIV, the stresses of living in prison — including overcrowding, unsanitary conditions, and poor nutrition — mean their health is even more compromised.”

Working In Kazakhstan To End HIV Stigma, Discrimination

In this post on USAID’s “IMPACTblog,” Erin McKee, USAID mission director for the Central Asian Republics, recounts a discussion roundtable with people “on the front lines” in the battle against HIV/AIDS in Kazakhstan. She writes, “I was honored to share a morning with people in Kazakhstan who are bold advocates for HIV-positive groups in their country, and I look forward to a renewed partnership with them in the fight to end stigma and discrimination toward people living with HIV in Central Asia” (12/27).

Promoting Gay Rights Essential For Health Of Africans

Across Africa, “lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people suffer brutal attacks, yet cannot report them to the police for fear of additional violence, humiliation, rape or imprisonment at the hands of the authorities. We are expelled from school and denied health care because of our perceived sexual orientation or gender identity,” Frank Mugisha, 2011 Robert F. Kennedy Human Rights Award laureate and executive director of Sexual Minorities Uganda, writes in a New York Times opinion piece. He adds, “When Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced this month that the United States would use diplomacy to encourage respect for gay rights around the world, my heart leapt.”

Discrimination Against LGBT Population Undermining HIV Prevention Efforts In Guatemala, IPS Reports

Inter Press Service examines discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people in Guatemala, where advocates and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) say such discrimination is undermining HIV prevention and treatment. Carolos Valdez of the NGO Proyecto Unidos “said the country has taken ‘few steps’ for preventing the spread of HIV among vulnerable groups,” including “opening five clinics catering to members of sexual minorities,” IPS writes.

Addressing Gender-Based Violence Through PEPFAR Programs

Daniela Ligiero of the State Department, Sasha Mital of the CDC, and Diana Prieto of USAID, who are co-chairs of the PEPFAR Gender Technical Working Group, write about the “intersection between gender-based violence (GBV) and its impact on HIV risk and access to HIV prevention and treatment for most-at-risk populations…

Obama Administration To Promote And Protect LGBT Rights Through Foreign Aid, Diplomacy

“The Obama administration said Tuesday that it will intensify efforts to fight discrimination against lesbians, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people as a major element of its foreign policy,” the Washington Post reports (DeYoung/Wilson, 12/6). “In the first U.S. government strategy to deal with human rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) citizens abroad,” President Obama issued a presidential memorandum on Tuesday “instruct[ing] agencies to use foreign aid to promote such rights,” the Guardian writes.

IPS Examines HIV In The Caribbean, Highlights Challenges In Addressing At-Risk Populations

Inter Press Service examines HIV in the Caribbean, where “the HIV burden varies considerably among and within countries” in the region. “‘I think the prevention programs in many countries are not reaching the right people,’ Michel de Groulards, regional program adviser of the UNAIDS Caribbean Regional Support Team, told IPS,” the news service writes, adding, “One factor, de Groulards believed, may be that after 25 years of providing treatment, some countries have reached a plateau. In other cases, people considered at risk, including [men who have sex with men], are not targeted.” IPS writes that “even as Caribbean politicians, scientists, researchers, academics and other stakeholders continue to examine ways of dealing with the virus, 30 years after the first case was recorded in the region, there is growing recognition that cuts in overseas funding could seriously hamper future success” (Richards, 11/21).

Forum For Collaborative HIV Research Discusses PrEP

Following an August 19 meeting convened by the Forum for Collaborative HIV Research to explore recent findings showing the success of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP), “conference participants urged healthcare providers and the public to await further guidance from the CDC and FDA before considering using PrEP. However, if providers believe that initiating…

NPR Interviews Author Of Study On Emerging HIV Epidemic Among MSM In MENA

NPR’s health blog “Shots” interviewed Laith Abu-Raddad of the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, co-author of a recent study published in PLoS Medicine that showed “[m]ore than five percent of men who have sex with men are infected by HIV in” the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), about “the challenges of researching such a taboo topic.” Abu-Raddad discusses his motivations for pursuing the study, data collection challenges and surprises in the data, the blog notes (Thrasybule, 8/19).