Cuba Increasing HIV Prevention Efforts Targeted at MSM, Health Official Says
Health officials in Cuba this year will focus HIV prevention messages at men who have sex with men, Rosaida Ochoa, director of the National Center for the Prevention of Sexually Transmitted Diseases and HIV, said recently, EFE News Service reports. Ochoa, who was speaking ahead of the International Day Against Homophobia on May 17, said that about 80% of people living with HIV in Cuba are men. She added that 84% of men living with HIV in the country are MSM.
According to Ochoa, four men contract HIV for every one woman who contracts the virus, leading health officials to focus prevention efforts on MSM while maintaining efforts aimed at women. A study conducted last year by the National Statistics Office found that HIV-positive people experience more stigma and discrimination because of their sexual orientation than their HIV status, Ochoa said. She added that one of the goals of this year's prevention campaign is to increase awareness about sexual identity in the general population. "Everything we can do to educate (people) about sexual diversity directly influences the HIV/AIDS epidemic," Ochoa said. As of December 2007, Cuba had recorded a total of 9,304 HIV/AIDS cases, according to EFE News Service (EFE News Service, 5/11).