Group of Transgender People Spread HIV Prevention Messages Among MSM in Cuba
A group of male-to-female transgender people in the western Cuban province Pinar del Rio recently have begun to educate local men who have sex with men about HIV prevention, Inter Press Service reports.
The group last week participated in a cultural festival that aimed to promote HIV prevention through artwork. The group's HIV prevention messages reached about 500 people, according to Inter Press Service. Nelson Simon, a poet who participated in the festival, said the art aims to educate people about responsible sexual behavior, adding that the prevention messages are "important and timely."
Since the first festival last year, 18 transgender people have participated in training workshops to become health promoters and participate in HIV prevention activities. As part of the program, the Pinar del Rio Centre for Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV/AIDS has helped transgender people find jobs and enroll in training programs. The program is part of a larger strategy aimed at addressing the needs of transgender people.
Cuba had recorded 9,039 HIV/AIDS cases by late 2007, with men accounting for 81% of all cases, according to Inter Press Service. Among the HIV-positive men, 86.1% have reported engaging in sex with other men, according to the Ministry of Public Health. In Pinar del Rio, 68.7% of HIV-positive men report having sex with other men. Geidy Diaz of the provincial HIV prevention center said health workers in the region should begin to target HIV prevention messages at heterosexual men, as well as MSM (Acosta, Inter Press Service, 3/17).