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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).

Concentrated HIV Epidemics Emerging Among MSM In Middle East, North Africa, Study Shows

Concentrated HIV epidemics are emerging among men who have sex with men in the Middle East and North Africa, “and high levels of risky sexual behavior threaten to spread the AIDS virus further in the region, researchers said Tuesday” in a study published in PLoS Medicine, Reuters reports. The researchers “found evidence for concentrated HIV epidemics – where infection rates are above five percent in a certain population group – in several countries such as Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan and Tunisia,” the news agency notes (Kelland, 8/2).

New Survey On Access To HIV Prevention And Treatment Among MSM

A new survey (.pdf) of more than 5,000 men who have sex with men (MSM), conducted by the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF), “has shown that less than half of MSM around the world have easy access to lifesaving HIV prevention and treatment services,” according to an MSMGF…

India Must Not Become Complacent Despite AIDS Control Program’s Success, Prime Minister Says

“India’s Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday hailed the country’s success in slashing new HIV/AIDS infections by half in the past decade, but warned against complacency,” Agence France-Presse reports. Speaking at a conference on AIDS in New Delhi, Singh said the country’s HIV prevention program “can justifiably claim a measure of success,” but “there should be no room for complacency,” as an estimated 2.4 million Indians are living with the disease, according to AFP.