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The Global HIV Prevention Coalition has been meeting this week at United Nations headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The goal is to discuss an HIV prevention roadmap that will reduce the global number of people newly infected each year to fewer than 500,000 (a 75% reduction against 2010 targets) and end AIDS as a public health threat by 2030.
It’s an especially ambitious roadmap when it comes to gay men and men who have sex with men (MSM), one of the key populations at risk of HIV. Experts at the UN have noted that while new infections have globally decreased, “trends in new infections have increased among people who inject drugs and men who have sex with men.”
“Gay men and other men who have sex with men, people who inject drugs, sex workers and transgender women are more likely to acquire HIV than all other adults age 15 years old and older, says George Ayala, Executive Director of MSMGF, the MSM Global Fund. “Globally, new infections among these groups account for 45% of all new HIV infections. This figure is likely to be an underestimate, given the intense stigma associated with disclosing and reporting acquisition risks for HIV among [those groups].”
Ayala has criticized the lack of funding for programs targeting key populations. He also urges countries that discriminate against gay people or sex workers to end repression: “Be more nuanced in your rhetoric about gender, especially in relation to the specific needs of key populations,” he says. “For example, stop public claims about the importance of engaging men, while ignoring, stigmatizing, humiliating and arresting gay men when they show up for services.”
Hornet is a founding member of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition
Hornet is a founding member of the Global HIV Prevention Coalition. In Geneva this past week, the company, known as the world’s premier gay social network, was represented by its president, Sean Howell.
Howell shared research obtained by Hornet and its partners that illustrated a lack of access to care. Hornet’s user base of 25 million is comprised of men living around the world, many of whom face huge adversity in gaining access to treatment. HIV infection rates are booming in countries like Brazil, Indonesia and the Philippines.
Howell also shared with the coalition that Hornet’s in-app HIV education is currently available in 17 languages, discussed political action in Brazil speeding up to increase PrEP access and touched on new research with UNAIDS in Brazil.
Howell also addressed issues facing gay men in adverse regions like Egypt and Chechnya, and the increased challenges around HIV given the efforts of oppressive regimes worldwide.