hris Beyrer, a guest editor of last year’s ‘The Lancet’ series on MSMs (men who have sex with men) told bdnews24.com in an interview that these ‘sexual minorities’ are ‘hidden’ in South Asia, “but carry 10 times more HIV infection risk than others”.
“They are not so much in public dialogue and discussions. But the fact is that everywhere we look we see there are substantial MSM populations.
“It does not vary much between countries and cultures. It’s roughly the same,” he said on the sidelines of the ongoing International Congress on AIDS of Asia and the Pacific.
More than 3,000 participants have joined the Congress from 80 countries in the Thai capital.
Beyrer described the MSMs as the ‘key’ population for HIV response for two reasons – higher risk of HIV and lower access to services.
“We have to lower their HIV rates and provide services. We have to deal with their human rights to provide them access to the healthcare in a setting that is safe and where they don't lose out on dignity and where they can disclose their actual behaviour and talk about their partners.
“The country that fails to do that, will face an ongoing epidemic,” he said.