New on our agenda is a high-risk, yet hidden, group in Africa that has been virtually excluded from research—men who have sex with men (MSM).
The Center completed the first systematic review and meta-analysis of HIV prevalence rates among MSM in low- and middle-income countries. It found that in lower-income settings these epidemics are driven, in part, by marked stigma and homophobia and by a lack of specific and appropriate prevention strategies.
Read the review of HIV among developing countries, published by Baral et al, that has led to much discussion among the international community.
Recognizing the need for HIV surveillance of, as well as access to prevention and treatment programs for the MSM population, the CPHHR collaborated with local organizations and are currently carrying out seroprevalence studies in Botswana, South Africa, Namibia, and Malawi. Data from this first study of HIV risks among MSM in Malawi, Namibia, and Botswana have found a prevalence of HIV among 17.4% of the participants with HIV infection being associated with being older than 25yrs. and with inconsistent condom use. Fifty-three percent of MSM acknowledged having both male and female partners in the last six months and 42.1% reported experiencing at least one human rights abuse. This article was just published in PLoS One in March 2009. Read
In July 2009, Dr. Baral discussed the current trends, concerns, and the global need for further research and programming for MSM with Pam Das, editor of the Lancet. Listen to the interview.
Read the article published in Malawi covering Dr. Baral's research efforts.
The data from the review and the seroprevalence studies will be used by African nongovernmental organizations as an instrument to advocate for more ownership, interest and support from African governments and civil society agencies to target the needs of MSM, and to address the human rights impediments which limit HIV prevention, treatment and care. Most recently, findings have been reported by Dr. Beyrer to audiences at the UN, USAID, and will present at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City.
Click the link to access Dr. Beyrer's July 2008 USAID Lecture of the HIV Risks Among Men Who Have Sex with Men.