AP/Mainichi Daily News Examines Increasing HIV/AIDS Rates Among MSM in Asia
The AP/Mainichi Daily News on Wednesday examined the increasing number of HIV cases in Asia among men who have sex with men. Although the majority of new HIV cases in recent years across the Asia-Pacific region have been reported among commercial sex workers and injection drug users, new data indicate that new cases among MSM also are increasing. A study conducted by CDC and the Thai government finds that the prevalence of HIV among MSM in Bangkok increased from 2003 to 2005, and data from the Monitoring the AIDS Pandemic Network indicate that HIV prevalence among MSM in Mumbai, India, is 18.8% and 12.8% in Phnom Penh, Cambodia. According to some HIV/AIDS advocates -- including Jeanine Bardon, regional director for Family Health International -- countries in the Asia-Pacific region largely have disregarded HIV among MSM. In addition, countries in the region -- including Malaysia, Fiji and India -- which are hostile to MSM often ban homosexual activities and prevent MSM from accessing HIV prevention messages and condoms, according to some advocates (Casey, AP/Mainichi Daily News, 3/22).
China Daily Profiles HIV/AIDS Group Targeting MSM in China
The China Daily on Wednesday profiled an HIV/AIDS prevention group that targets MSM in Beijing. The group -- which was founded in May 2005 by Xiao Dong -- now has 43 members, most of whom are MSM. Group members visit gay bars in the city to provide HIV/AIDS prevention education and advice. "Our mission is to spread the word on AIDS among gay men, a topic that has been hiding in the closet for a long time," Xiao, who also heads the group, said. He added, "It is quite urgent that we give gay men the basics on how to prevent AIDS." Although homosexuality is not illegal in China and the country removed it from its list of mental disorders in 2001, the population still faces stigma and discrimination, according to the China Daily. MSM, who have an increased risk of contracting HIV, also are often ignored by the government and public, even as awareness about preventing the spread of the virus is increasing, according to Xiao (Li, China Daily, 3/22).