In the 1980s, when the HIV was identified for the first time, the prevalence of the HIV/AIDS among homosexuals was so high that the disease was called “the gay plague”. The scenario changed, and it showed that the virus and the disease can be – how to say – “democratic” (!), affecting straight men, women and children.
However, scientific data have been showing that the prevalence of HIV/AIDS among “men who have sex with men” (MSM) is becoming higher and higher.
In Latin American, the prevalence is 33 times higher than in the rest of the population, according to Chris Beyrer, director of Johns Hopkins Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program, in a presentation to journalists at the National Press Foundation training in Mexico City.
Africa is the most markedly understudied region in this respect. The criminalisation of the sex between individuals of the same gender (still occuring in 85 countries who are UN members, several of them in Africa) does not help to understand the situation better.
“There is an urgent need for programs for prevention, treatment, care and surveillance among MSM”, says Beyrer.
Indeed, this will be an issue discussed widely at AIDS 2008.
Luisa Massarani, SciDev.Net/Latin America and the Caribbean