India’s NACO To Increase HIV Prevention Efforts Among MSM
India's National AIDS Control Organisation has said it will increase HIV prevention efforts among men who have sex with men by sixfold by the end of the year, the Times of India reports. The announcement was made following the release of the American Foundation for AIDS Research report at the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City that found MSM are 19 times more likely than the general population to be HIV-positive.
About 100,000 of the 2.5 million MSM in India are at high risk of HIV because of multiple sexual relationships and commercial sex work, and about 15% of MSM in the country are living with HIV/AIDS, according to NACO estimates. Smarajit Jana, NACO program officer for target interventions, said MSM are a "very high-risk community in India."
According to Jana, 200 of NACO's 800 HIV prevention campaigns are targeted to MSM. Jana added that NACO has 2,100 intervention campaigns planned for the third phase of the program, 600 of which will focus on MSM. In addition, NACO is mapping the country's MSM population, with results expected by the end of August, Jana said.
NACO's intervention campaigns currently reach about 70% of MSM in India's southern states; however, only 20% of MSM are reached in the northern states, Jana said. Jana added that because the MSM community tends to be "suspicious of outsiders," new programs will be run by members of the MSM community (Sinha, Times of India, 8/7).
NPR's "Morning Edition" on Friday reported on the amfAR research and HIV and MSM in Latin American countries (Wilson, "Morning Edition," 8/8).
Kaisernetwork.org was the official webcaster of the XVII International AIDS Conference in Mexico City. A webcast on MSM from the conference is available online.