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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Pre-IAS meeting spotlights MSM and transgender health issues

A record 800 delegates from more than 100 countries attended the fifth biennial meeting of The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF), prior to the International AIDS Conference in Washington DC, to assess the current state of the global HIV epidemic and response among gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM), and transgender people.

With presentations by Congresswoman Barbara Lee, former High Court Judge Michael Kirby, and Dr. Kevin Fenton, Director of the National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention. Despite the recent lifting of the travel ban that has prevented people with HIV from entering the United States, and which made it possible for thee the International AIDS Conference to meet in the US for the first time since 1990, legal restrictions still prevent sex workers from entering the United States. So during the plenary, a live video feed to Kolkata, India, where the Global Network of Sex Work Projects (NSWP) was holding its own pre-conference event, Kemal Ordek addressed the delegates, emphasizing that there is still much work to be done to ensure the global AIDS response includes all key affected populations.

Program content was determined by an online survey of MSM and transgender advocates and service providers around the world, with more than 20 break-out sessions focused on a wide range of topics concerning the global AIDS response among MSM and transgendered people, the latest developments in HIV preventions science, the shifting landscape of global AIDS funding, and the criminalization of homosexuality.

With the overflow attendance at this meeting, and increasing awareness of the issues presented at this important meeting, the MSMGF should anticipate even greater interest and attendance when they meet again in Melbourne in 2014.

Source: Reporting from Washington DC for the PRN News: James Braun, DO