Should we care about MSMs?
WITH an HIV prevalence of 31.8 per cent, the rate of infection among men who have sex with men (MSMs) is more than 17 times that of Jamaica’s national average of 1.8 per cent and represents the population group with the highest prevalence rate in the country.
As a result, the island ranks second in the developing world and first in the Caribbean with the highest HIV prevalence rate among MSMs. Only Kenya, with a 43 per cent rate, is higher than Jamaica.
Ivan Cruickshank, programme manager at the Caribbean Vulnerable Communities (CVC), explained that with all of the interventions that have taken place among the MSM community — testing, safer sex campaigns and treatment for MSMs living with HIV — the rate of infection remains high, not because MSMs are uneducated or irresponsible, but because of factors that make it difficult to benefit from the ‘interventions’.