Oakland, CA & New York City, NY – May 19, 2020
MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights and Global Black Gay Men Connect (GBGMC) enthusiastically welcome results from a recent global clinical trial that showed the safety and efficacy of a long-acting injectable drug for preventing HIV infection when compared to that of daily oral pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) for HIV & AIDS.
The research protocol from study HPTN 083 was stopped early because evidence clearly showed that the long-acting injectable drug, cabotegravir, performed better than the study’s comparisons in lowering HIV incidence among cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men. This option, which in the study was administered every eight weeks, is a new exciting alternative to a pill form of tenofovir/emtricitabine which is one of the few available options for PrEP on the market.*
The clinical trial enrolled 4,570 cisgender men and transgender women who have sex with men in Argentina, Brazil, Peru, South Africa, Thailand, the United States of America (US), and Vietnam. Two-thirds of the participants were under the age of 30 and 12% were transgender women. Fifty percent of study participants in the US were Black or African American.
“PrEP has been one of the most important developments in the global HIV response,” said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Director of MPact. “Gay men and other men who have sex with men are disproportionately impacted by HIV. This has been true since the beginning of the pandemic. Now with long-acting injectable PrEP, gay men and trans women can choose from a range of accessible, sex-positive, user-friendly and flexible HIV prevention options, critical to curbing new HIV infections in our communities.”
Gay men and other men who have sex with men and transgender women are 22 and 12 times more likely to become infected with HIV, respectively, than the general population worldwide. In the US, Black men who have sex with men accounted for 26% of all new HIV diagnoses in 2018. HIV diagnoses rose 42% among young (age 25-34) Black gay men in the US between 2010 and 2017.
“Half of all Black gay men are projected to acquire HIV in their lifetime,” asserted Micheal Ighodaro, board member of Global Black Gay Men Connect (GBGMC). “Longstanding HIV-related disparities shouldered by Black gay men and other gay men of color are the result of persistent racism, homophobia, and sexual stigma that continue to largely go unaddressed.”
HIV prevention coverage for gay men, transgender women, and other key populations is unacceptably low in much of the world. This is especially true for communities living in poverty, racial/ethnic minorities, and immigrants who are frequently the targets of discrimination.
With the advent of long-acting injectable PrEP, we must ensure that gay men and trans women have seats at program planning tables to ensure its optimal access and uptake. Communities most impacted by HIV are best positioned to address their needs and break down barriers to the services they need.
MPact and GBGMC urge policy makers, implementers, and funders at national, regional, and global levels to meaningfully engage its communities early in plans to expand the HIV toolkit and comprehensive prevention coverage.
MPact Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights was founded in 2006 by a group of activists concerned about HIV-related disparities as well as stigma discrimination, violence, and criminalization experienced by gay men and other men who have sex with men in all parts of the world. MPact is now an expanding advocacy network dedicated to ensuring equitable access to HIV services to all gay men, while promoting health and human rights. Directly linked with nearly 150 community-led organizations across 62 countries and thousands of other advocates through its various social media platforms, MPact accomplishes its mission by: watchdogging governments, funders, and other decision makers; strengthening capacities of community-led organizations and healthcare providers; supporting the proliferation of networks led by gay men; conducting and commissioning research; and facilitating inter-regional information exchange.
Contact: Greg Tartaglione, Senior Communications Officer – email@example.com
Global Black Gay Men Connect, (GBGMC) was founded in 2018 by a group of Black, gay, bisexual and same-loving men to form an international movement to empower our communities, foster resilience against oppression and initiate an ever-growing platform for our collective voices to be heard. As a collective, GBGMC fosters an activist-led movement with the goal of building local power to intervene in discrimination and violence inflicted on black gay communities and men wherever they live. We strive to facilitate intentional involvement by engaging Black gay men across the world and developing their financial capabilities to rapidly intervene on human rights issues surrounding mental and physical health, police brutality, immigration, and general well-being.
Contact: Anthony Jones. Communications Volunteer- firstname.lastname@example.org
*EDIT: A previous version stated that daily tenofovir/emtricitabine was the only available version of PrEP while 2-1-1 and event-driven methods of taking this pill have also been found to be effective, though are not formally approved in some parts of the world.
Header photo from Broadly’s Gender Spectrum Collection