Mapping Pathways is a multi-national project to develop and nurture a research-driven, community-led global understanding of the emerging evidence base around the adoption of antiretroviral-based prevention strategies to end the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The evidence base is more than results from clinical trials - it must include stakeholder and community perspectives as well.

11 November 2011

Gay men/MSM & the HIV Epidemic: Microbicides, Funding, and Sex

* Original content from our Mapping Pathways blog team

Three interesting bits of news in the world of HIV prevention and treatment for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM):

Project GEL: According to the Centers for Disease Control, gay men/MSM constitute more than half the HIV cases in the US. In an effort to address the HIV vulnerability of the gay community, the US government recently began funding Project GEL, which aims to develop a more effective method of preventing HIV infection among gay/MSM. Already in three locations – Boston, Puerto Rico, and Pittsburgh – the project isfinding out and assessingwhy so many people don't use condoms each time they have sex. The end goal is to address this gap in HIV prevention by developing a microbicide product and applying it to a real-life setting.

Project GEL has three main phases:

  • Study the sexual health of young gay men/MSM, particularly men of color.
  • Examine how gay men/MSM feel about using the proposed gel prior to anal sex and whether or not they would actually use it before engaging in sexual activities.
  • Research the microbicide gel itself, including side-effects and responses.
To know more about Project GEL, check out their website or this recent article about their work.

New funding resource from amfAR’s MSM Initiative: The Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR)’s MSM Initiative provides financial and technical support to community-based organizations fighting HIV among MSM in low-and-middle income countries. Through this initiative, amfAR also “builds global understanding and awareness of HIV epidemics among MSM, and advocates for effective policies and increased funding”.

In October, the MSM Initiative launched a new fundraising toolkit to assist community-based organizations that provide HIV-related programs and services for gay and bisexual men, other MSM, and transgender individuals. It includes information about relevant donors and funders, snapshots of grant programs, and how to contact and approach funders. Read more and download the guide here.

Men’s Sex Study: The Journal of Sexual Medicine recently published study results on the sexual behavior of gay and bisexual men. The community report assessed responses from nearly 25,000 users of Manhunt and DList – online social forums for gay and bisexual men. The parent company of these websites is now communicating this scientific data in a user-friendly manner through a creative yet informative website.

The effort has won a lot of praise in the HIV prevention community as well; the format makes it easy to understand serious study data on gay men’s sexual behavior – the first step in developing real-world HIV-prevention methods for MSM. The results also suggest that some popular misconceptions and stereotypes need to be examined and addressed. (You can also read the full report here.)

[Content that is linked from other sources is for informational purposes and should not construe a Mapping Pathways position.]

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