SHOWCASE January 14, 2016

Fast-tracking HIV and Human Rights Response for gay men, bisexual men and other MSM

A reflection piece by Niluka Perera, Youth Voices Count’s Project Officer, on his participation in the first meeting of a new advisory body, the Global Platform to Fast-Track HIV Responses among Gay Men, Bisexual Men and Other Men Who Have Sex with Men (Global Platform), which was convened by UNAIDS and the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) in Geneva, Switzerland, on 12 and 13 January.


 

Global Forum on MSM and HIV (MSMGF) along with UNAIDS convened a global platform with organizations and networks working regionally and globally on gay men, bisexual men and other MSM in order to provide strategic direction to UN agencies including UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNDP and UNICEF and other key agencies such as the Global Fund and USAID to fast track the global HIV and Human Rights response for these constituencies.

HIV disproportionately affects gay men, bisexual men and other MSM all around the world. More than 30 years after the first diagnosed cases, the only truly global, unabated HIV epidemic remaining, is happening among gay, bisexual men and other MSM. New infections are increasing in this group in all world regions despite advancements in prevention and treatment. Gay, bisexual men and other MSM remain much more likely to be living with HIV, due in part to the vastly increased likelihood of HIV transmission during sex between men.

The convening of the Global MSM platform hence is timely in order to revitalize the HIV response towards gay men, bisexual men and other MSM especially with the UN High Level Meeting on HIV is around the corner. HIV has been used since the beginning of the response as an entry point to bring focus on to the human rights of key populations. However it is time that a more proactive approach is taken within the HIV response to ensure the human rights of gay men, bisexual men and other MSM are protected and promoted; reaching beyond numbers to humans.

HIV has been used since the beginning of the response as an entry point to bring focus on to the human rights of key populations. However it is time that a more proactive approach is taken within the HIV response to ensure the human rights of gay men, bisexual men and other MSM are protected and promoted; reaching beyond numbers to humans.

The role of the Global MSM platform is crucial in providing strategic directions to agencies in shaping the HIV response to these communities. The composition of the platform itself, including rights focused, health focused along with youth focused organizations and UN and other agencies will facilitate a more inclusive rights based approach to the HIV and Human Rights response for gay men, bisexual men and other MSM.

However in order to optimize the role of the Global MSM platform in shaping up the global HIV response for gay men, bisexual men and other MSM, it is important that systems are developed and adopted to ensure that the strategic directions, recommendations and advices provided by the platform are incorporated in to the ongoing strategies of implementing agencies such as UNAIDS, UNFPA, UNICEF, UNDP, Global Fund and the USAID.

The platform in its very essence also has a responsibility of bridging the gap between the global level HIV response and that of the local level. It is the responsibility of the platform to base its strategic advices and recommendation on the real needs of the gay men, bisexual men and other men who have sex men at the country level where targeted interventions are indispensable.

A global platform of this scale on gay men, bisexual men and other MSM has been established for the first time to provide strategic direction especially to UN agencies. Hence the platform will provide a greater opportunity to more focused advocacy to scale up the HIV and Human Rights response for gay men, bisexual men and other MSM globally.