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New Global Survey Examines Health and Human Rights of Gay Men

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The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) has announced its second global survey on the health and human rights of gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM).

Launched this week, the Global Men's Health and Rights (GMHR) survey focuses on factors that affect the health of MSM around the world, including discrimination, access to services, and criminalization of homosexuality. The survey also assesses factors that promote resilience and well-being, including sexual happiness and community involvement.

"The GMHR is the only survey to take such a comprehensive look at the lives of MSM on a global scale," said Dr. Sonya Arreola, lead researcher for GMHR 2012. "By examining numerous variables across all regions, the survey aims to identify trends that can be used to advocate for better programs and services for MSM around the world."

The survey comes at a time when the HIV field is buzzing with news of new biomedical prevention technologies, like microbicides and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP).

"In addition to more traditional prevention measures like condoms and lubricant, GMHR 2012 examines knowledge and attitudes about new prevention technologies, as well," said Dr. Arreola. "As major AIDS organizations begin to contemplate rollout of these new tools around the globe, this information will help determine contextually appropriate ways to integrate technologies like PrEP within the broader spectrum of prevention interventions for MSM in different parts of the world."

The MSMGF's first global survey on MSM health and rights was carried out in 2010, yielding more than 5,000 responses from around the world. The survey indicated that less than half of MSM around the world have easy access to HIV prevention and treatment services. Among all variables, the strongest predictor of compromised access to HIV prevention services was the level of homophobia experienced by participants.

"The 2010 survey revealed that most MSM around the world cannot access HIV services," said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Director of the MSMGF. "With HIV rates surpassing 30 percent among MSM in communities around the world, we must be very clear about what is fueling this epidemic and what is hindering our response. There is no time to waste."

The survey, which is available in English, Chinese, French, Spanish, and Russian, can be taken online. A paper version will be available in Africa and the Pacific, where Internet access is less reliable.

Preliminary data from Global Men's Health and Rights Survey 2012 will be presented at the upcoming MSMGF Pre-Conference: "From Stigma to STRENGTH: Strategies for MSM, Transgender People and Allies in a Changing AIDS Landscape," taking place in July in Washington, D.C. before the International AIDS Conference, and organized in partnership with FHI 360 and the National Black Gay Men's Advocacy Coalition.