Most men who have sex with men (MSM) around the world don't have access to HIV testing, counseling, or free condoms, according to a new study of health care providers and MSM.
Thirty-nine percent of the 4,884 surveyed (3,875 men and 1,009 health care providers for MSM) said they don't have easy access to free condoms and lubricant. Twenty-five percent said free lubricant was completely unavailable to them, according to the Global Forum on MSM & HIV, which conducted the survey. As many as 70% said it was difficult or impossible to access HIV treatment.
The Global Forum's senior education associate Patrick Heber said in a statement that the results “reinforce the fact that we can’t even get condoms and lube to more than half of MSM around the world. We must look seriously at barriers that prevent MSM in different country contexts from accessing these proven prevention tools.”
The forum's researchers said the results reflect homophobia in certain parts of the world. MSM in regions like Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, and Latin America reported higher levels discrimination than men in North America, Western Europe, and Australia.
The Global Forum will release a complete analysis of the full data in early 2011, with the help of a grant by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.