|Regional Consultation on HIV/AIDS Prevention, Care and Support Programmes in Latin America and the Caribbean for Men Who Have Sex with Men (UNAIDS, 1999, 28 p.)|
Sex between men occurs in most societies. For several reasons, it is often stigmatized and denied, and therefore the public visibility of male-to-male sex varies considerably from one country to another. Men who have sex with men (MSM) are a vulnerable group and the cultural, sociopolitical and religious factors that lead to the denial of male-to-male sex increases their vulnerability.
In Latin America, sound epidemiological data indicate that the epidemic of HIV amongst MSM is spreading fast. It is a major route of transmission of the virus and there is a need to support and encourage prevention, care and support programmes that aim to decrease the spread.
Lessons learned from MSM programmes have shown that the vulnerability of this group is reduced where political leaders and other key players in society accept the existence of male-to-male sex and its relevance to HIV/AIDS programming. There is an important role for leaders to play in creating a supportive environment for MSM that fosters better understanding, eliminates stigmatization and criminalization, and decreases vulnerability to HIV. This must be done in collaboration with partners including nongovernmental organizations, UN agencies, international and community-based organizations, donor agencies, and civil society.
The Colombian League for AIDS Control has taken an important step in addressing some of these issues in relation to Latin America at the consultation which was held in Bogotnd supported by UNAIDS. The report of the consultation is now made available to provide some guidance and direction to all of us.
Director, Department of Policy, Strategy and Research
Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS)