PSI will implement a number of activities to raise the awareness of and support programs to respond to the particular needs of MSM. Among these, PSI will: 1) Develop list of priority countries and donors to be targeted with awareness raising efforts; 2) Develop awareness raising tools targeting donors, Country Coordinating Mechanisms (CCM), national HIV/AIDS committees, and national Ministries of Health; 3) Assemble a package of HIV prevention and service delivery tools and guidelines that can be adopted at the country-level to reach MSM; 4) Support at least 4 research studies to document the particular needs of MSM; 5) Support 10 countries to develop and launch HIV prevention interventions for MSM; and, 6) Reinforce existing HIV prevention and service delivery programs for MSM.
Sex between men accounts for approximately 5-10% of HIV infections worldwide. Unprotected anal sex, multiple sexual partners, and the often secretive nature of these relationships contribute to the fact that in many low- and middle-income countries, HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) is much higher than in the general population. Many countries do not acknowledge the existence of MSM, which exacerbates the stigma and isolation they face. Reaching MSM with HIV prevention interventions is also complicated by varying perceptions and definitions of homosexuality, sexual identity and gender roles. Many MSM have both male and female partners who may be unaware that their partners are having sex with other people, and that they themselves are at an increased risk of HIV infection. Because very little data exist on the determinants of sexual behaviors among MSM, especially in Africa, it is often difficult to develop evidence-based interventions for these men. Despite these challenges, PSI is currently supporting programs in Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, and Latin America to improve access to HIV information and prevention services for MSM.
PSI is seeking financial resources and best practice information to develop a values exploration curriculum that can be included as part of all MSM programming for internal staff. Ensuring that PSI staff fully support MSM programming and offering the opportunity for staff to explore concerns and values around this population is vital to the success and sustainability of programs.