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November 28, 2012

HIV Conference to Explore New Prevention Strategies for Men Who Have Sex with Men

The New York Academy of Sciences and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health convene experts to address the HIV epidemic in gay and bisexual men from scientific and social perspectives, with the aim of creating more effective methods for self-protection.

The New York Academy of Sciences and the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health present the conference “New Paradigms of Risk and Protection: Understanding the HIV Epidemics among Gay and Bisexual Men” on December 7, 2012. The Conference will explore how novel and more effective HIV prevention programs for men who have sex with men (MSM) could help to hamper epidemics, which are expanding in low, middle, and high income countries, among this population.

Interestingly, biological, network, and social/structural factors combine in MSM populations and lead to more rapid and efficient HIV spread in their communities; individual risk behaviors for HIV infection contribute only modestly to these dynamics. These factors make HIV epidemics among this group fundamentally different from other groups at risk.

“We are beginning to understand why new HIV infections continue to rise among gay, bisexual and other MSM, despite tremendous advances in treatment and prevention," said Chris Beyrer, MD, MPH, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Public Health and Human Rights. "We now have the tools to make real headway in reducing  new infections among these men—but it will take targeted use of resources, new science, community engagement and political will to see real change.”

Responding to the epidemics of HIV among gay and other MSM will be challenging and require leadership, vision and new science. In addition to expanding testing and treatment of HIV-positive men, stepping up risk prevention of HIV-negative men through the use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the development of a rectal microbicide and increased access to and coverage for condoms and condom-compatible lubricant are all prevention methods that will be discussed at the Conference.

Speakers will also explore current prevention tools and the policy reforms and structural changes key to expanding coverage and reaching men with culturally competent care.

The Conference will also highlight biologically based efforts, focused on the delivery of effective interventions to address each gap in the testing-to-treatment cascade, and ensure safe and affirming spaces for prevention, treatment and care.

For more information, visit http://www.nyas.org/HIVinMSM.

Media must RSVP to Diana Friedman (dfriedman@nyas.org; 212-298-8645).

JHSPH media contact: Tim Parsons, director of Public Affairs, at 410-955-7619 or tmparson@jhsph.edu.