WASHINGTON, July 26, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) launched a new publication today featuring more than 100 abstracts on gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender people that were rejected from inclusion in this summer's International AIDS Conference. Entitled "Missing Voices from the Field," the publication highlights important new findings on major resource gaps in the MSM response, the place of MSM in National AIDS Plans, and as-yet-unseen epidemiological data from around the world.
"The research reported in these abstracts is incredibly valuable," said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Director of the MSMGF. "We have assembled this collective body of work to ensure the global MSM and transgender movement benefits from the most recent advances made by researchers, service providers, and community members around the world. We cannot allow these voices to go unheard."
The "Missing Voices" publication was conceived after an independent audit commissioned by the MSMGF in 2010 revealed that only 2.6% of sessions at the last International AIDS Conference (IAC) focused on MSM, and only 1.1% of sessions focused on transgender people.
The MSMGF collected abstracts for this publication through an open call issued in April 2012, soon after authors had been informed whether their abstracts would be accepted for inclusion in this year's conference. The MSMGF received over 150 abstracts, which were then reviewed and scored by an independent panel of experts using the IAC's own Abstract Review Guidelines. Thirty-nine abstracts received high scores, and 82 abstracts received moderate scores. The full text of each high-scoring abstract is included in this publication, as are the titles of each moderate scoring abstract with links to their full text online.
"The MSMGF has long advocated for greater inclusion of MSM and transgender issues at the International AIDS Conference," said Dr. Ayala. "We cannot stand by as our communities continue to be marginalized from the global AIDS response. We are happy that this year's conference appears to show greater inclusion of these issues. We will know more about the extent of this improvement after our audit of the AIDS 2012 program is complete."
Selected findings in this publication include:
In Chiang Mai, Thailand, funding commitments to NGOs by international donors account for only 6% of the resources needed to provide comprehensive HIV prevention for MSM in the city.
In Shenzhen, China, HIV rates among MSM vary significantly by testing venue: 0.9% of MSM in entertainment venues, 9.3% of MSM in parks, 8.1% of MSM in saunas, and 3.5% of MSM from suburb recreational centers.
Out of 46 National AIDS Plans in Sub-Saharan Africa, 31 mentioned MSM. While two-thirds of these acknowledge MSM are highly vulnerable to HIV, only 14 countries proposed HIV prevention interventions for this population.
MSM in the Gambia were found to have an HIV prevalence rate of 9.8%, in the first study of HIV prevalence among MSM in the country. HIV risk factors were also assessed, finding that only 21.7% of participants had correct knowledge of HIV risks associated with anal sex and only 9.5% consistently used condoms with male partners.
The full text of "Missing Voices from the Field: A Selection of MSM & Transgender Abstracts Rejected from the 2012 International AIDS Conference" can be found at: http://www.msmgf.org/files/msmgf//documents/Missing_Voices.pdf.