Researchers, funders and grassroots organizations around the world take stock of current trends, plan for future
November 16, 2011 (Oakland, Calif.) - A global coalition of concerned stakeholders has come together to develop a collaborative strategy to promote the health and human rights of men who have sex with men (MSM). The group of more than 40 participants from over 25 countries, half of whom are people living with HIV, convened as part of a community-led process to create a five-year strategic plan for the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF).
"There are very few venues for different sectors of the global MSM response to come together from around the world
to strategize on a collective way forward," said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Officer of the Global Forum on MSM & HIV
(MSMGF). "This was an opportunity for grassroots advocates, service providers, researchers, regional MSM networks,
multilaterals and major funders to talk face to face about where we need to go as a global movement and the most
effective way to get there. The results are quite significant."
The strategic plan, released earlier today, lays out five priority areas to maximize impact in MSM communities
across the globe: promoting health; advancing human rights; improving information and research; increasing investment; and
facilitating partnership and engagement with local advocates. Each of these priority areas is to be addressed using
three primary strategies: monitoring community-level experience; initiating and supporting advocacy; and
strengthening community systems.
"This meeting has come at a crucial juncture in the course of the global epidemic," said Othman Mellouk,
a member of the MSMGF's Executive Committee. "HIV rates are still unacceptably high among MSM in every world region, yet
the response is extremely under-resourced and program coverage is abysmally low. The full spectrum of the global MSM
response must work together to meet these challenges with a coordinated strategy. This plan is a rally call for
that kind of action."
MSM bear a disproportionate burden of the HIV epidemic around the world, with infection rates among MSM passing 20% in countries as
diverse as Thailand, Mexico and Senegal. Despite the clear need for programs and resources, less than 2% of international funding
for HIV prevention is targeted at MSM and fewer than 40 out of 184 countries report to UNAIDS that they have national targets for
HIV program coverage for MSM. Current data indicates that fewer than one in ten MSM are reached by HIV prevention programs worldwide.
The new document will guide the MSMGF's work to respond to this crisis over the next five years in coordination with MSM movements
that have emerged at the country and regional level. Building on significant recent developments in research and policy, the plan
aims to ensure that the MSMGF is investing time and resources in programs that are highly effective, align with the needs of
regional networks, and support the work of grassroots implementers across diverse global contexts. .
"In the coming years, the MSMGF will be engaged in a number of collaborations and in-country technical support initiatives across
Asia, Africa, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Middle East," said Dr. Ayala. "This plan provides our organization with
a comprehensive blueprint for effective action, a strategy that has use beyond the MSMGF for all sectors of the global MSM response.
The completion of the document is not the end of a process, but rather the beginning of a continuing global dialogue on how we
can work together for the health and human rights of MSM around the world."
The full Strategic Plan is available on the MSMGF website at http://www.msmgf.org/files/msmgf//Publications/strategicplan_20122016.pdf .
This press release can be found on the MSMGF website at http://www.msmgf.org/index.cfm/id/11/aid/5244 .
The Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) is an expanding network of AIDS organizations, MSM networks, and advocates
committed to ensuring robust coverage of and equitable access to effective HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support services
tailored to the needs of gay men and other MSM. Guided by a Steering Committee of 20 members from 18 countries situated mainly
in the Global South, and with administrative and fiscal support from AIDS Project Los Angeles (APLA), the MSMGF works to
promote MSM health and human rights worldwide through advocacy, information exchange, knowledge production,
networking, and capacity building.
Reproduced with permission - "The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) "
The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)