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International Community Must Address MSM Population In Order To End AIDS Epidemic

“Over the 30 years of the AIDS epidemic, the disease has had a profound impact on every country in the world,” and “in each country, that impact is experienced a different way,” Vivek Anand, CEO of the Humsafar Trust, and Kenneth Mayer, medical research director of Fenway Health and co-director of the Fenway Institute, write in this post in Huffington Post’s “Gay Voices” blog. “But one reality remains: In nearly every country, HIV rates are disproportionately high in gay and bisexual men, as well as men who have sex with men (MSM) who do not identify as either,” they continue, adding, “The full scope of the epidemic simply cannot be addressed until we recognize that there is no country in the world where we can overlook the MSM population.”

“Unfortunately, the scope of the epidemic has often been poorly understood, or left undiscussed, by those dedicated to HIV prevention,” they write, noting, “Too often, their portrait of those at risk of HIV splits into a false dichotomy: Caucasian gay men, bisexual men, and MSM in wealthier countries, with the disease being a heterosexual epidemic in lower-income nations.” They continue, “MSM are not only an at-risk population in wealthier countries but are present in every country in the world.” They discuss the work of their respective organizations and conclude, “We have a long way to go in combating the stigma that drives many MSM and transgender people to engage in unsafe sexual practices, but we are reaching them. … We cannot end this epidemic if we ignore any at-risk population” (8/23).