In every country in all regions of the world, relationships and consensual sex occurs between
men. Yet in over 70 countries criminal penalties currently exist for same-sex acts between
consenting adults, including imprisonment and death. Even in countries where consensual sex between men is not illegal, MSM are among the most marginalized and discriminated against in society. Individuals are often targets of exclusion and violence on account of their real or perceived sexual orientation.
This reality was underscored earlier this year with the tragic loss of David Kato (see page 4) in Uganda. And despite being at a greater risk of HIV infection, MSM are too often overlooked in national responses with few, if any, targeted resources provided.
The existence of punitive laws also makes it very difficult for MSM to openly access health services, and more needs to be done to effectively serve their sexual and reproductive health (SRH) and HIV needs. In recognition of this need, IPPF has recently entered into a partnership with the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) – a network promoting the health and human rights of MSM worldwide – to scale up our collective efforts. IPPF’s Sexual Rights Declaration clearly stresses that every human being has the right to sexual and reproductive health – including gay men and other MSM – and our lead article by MSMGF calls for this right to be honoured (see page 2).
Our work with MSM has increased considerably over the last five years. In 2005, 25 per cent of IPPF Member Associations had specific strategies for MSM, and by 2009 this had increased to 45 per cent,
with some outstanding examples (see page 3). While much still remains to be done to meet the SRH and HIV needs of MSM and their partners, IPPF Member Associations are uniquely placed to provide much-needed services – including access to stigma-free clinical services, high-quality condoms and water-based lubricant, specific risk reduction strategies, and appropriate referrals for care and support.
Working in partnership with regional and country level MSM organizations and networks will help shape and strengthen both our work and our collective voice to address the sexual and reproductive health and rights of MSM.
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