Prominent Gay Activists from Around the World to Convene in Oakland to Address Global HIV Epidemic

Published: April 1, 2013

 For Immediate Release

Prominent Gay Activists from Around the World to Convene in Oakland
to Address Global HIV Epidemic

Gay Leaders from Africa, Asia-Pacific, Latin America, and Europe to Join Bay Area Activists and Stakeholders for a Week of Meetings and Public Events

The Honorable Congresswoman Barbara Lee to Deliver Keynote Address

April 1, 2013 (Oakland, Calif.) – The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) announced today that more than 30 prominent gay activists and leaders from over 20 countries will be gathering in Oakland for a series of meetings and public events focused on addressing rising rates of HIV among gay men globally. Meetings and events will focus on the current status of gay men’s health and human rights, linking local Bay Area activists and stakeholders with a broader network of leaders working on these issues around the world.

Recent research has estimated that HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) is as high as 18% in sub-Saharan Africa, 15% in Latin America, 15% in South Asia, and 25% in the Caribbean. High rates of HIV are driven by increased stigma, discrimination, and violence facing gay men and other MSM. Over 70 countries currently criminalize homosexuality around the world.

“As the Supreme Court hears cases on gay marriage in the United States, we must not lose sight of the full spectrum of human rights issues facing gay men and other sexual and gender minorities,” said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Director of the MSMGF. “We hope this series of events will provide a broader perspective on the current status of gay health and human rights globally, creating important linkages between activists working on these issues in the Bay Area and abroad.”

Public Events

Global Health and Human Rights of Gay Men: A Panel Discussion
San Francisco LGBT Community Center
1800 Market St, San Francisco
April 17, 7PM – 9PM

This panel discussion will address the health and human rights of gay men from an international perspective, featuring prominent LGBT activists visiting from Russia, Zimbabwe, Mexico, India, and Jamaica. Guest panelists will discuss a wide range of topics concerning gay men globally, including violence, criminalization, substance use, and HIV. Presentations will be followed by a networking reception linking international activists with local Bay Area stakeholders, students, and community members.

More information on panelists and presentations can be found at

MSMGF Open House – Keynote Speaker Hon. Congresswoman Barbara Lee
MSMGF Headquarters
436 14th Street, Suite 1500, Oakland
April 19, 6PM – 8PM

Convening for the first time in Oakland at the MSMGF’s new headquarters, 21 members of the MSMGF Steering Committee from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, and Latin America will be joined by heads of regional MSM networks from all major world regions and leaders of the local HIV response across the Bay Area. The Honorable Congresswoman Barbara Lee will be delivering keynote remarks at 6:30PM.

More information on the Open House can be found at

Fundraiser Reception

The week of events will also include a fundraiser reception organized by members of the San Francisco LGBT community. Proceeds of the fundraiser will support the human rights work of the MSMGF and the David Kato Vision and Voice Award, which honors courage and outstanding leadership in advocacy for the sexual rights of LGBT individuals. More information on the fundraiser reception is available upon request.

Note to Editors: Media are encouraged to attend both public events. For interview requests or additional information about public events or the fundraiser reception, please contact Jack Beck at the contact information below.

Media Contact:
Jack Beck
510.332.0786 (m)
510.271.1956 (o)

The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) is an expanding network of AIDS organizations, MSM networks, and advocates committed to ensuring robust coverage of and equitable access to effective HIV prevention, care, treatment, and support services tailored to the needs of gay men and other MSM.

More information on the MSMGF can be found at More information on the David Kato Vision and Voice Award can be found at

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