AIDS 2014: Criminalization Decreases HIV Prevention and Treatment Among Gay Men [VIDEO]

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Gay and bisexual men who have been arrested or persecuted for same-sex activity are less likely to access HIV prevention services, and those who are HIV positive are less likely to receive antiretroviral treatment, according to a study presented at the 20th International AIDS Conference last month in Melbourne.

Glen-Milo Santos from the San Francisco Department of Public Health and colleagues analyzed responses from more than 4000 men who have sex with men (MSM) who participated in a worldwide online survey conducted in 6 languages. He summarizes his findings at an AIDS 2014 press briefing on HIV and criminalization.

Glen-Milo Santos, AIDS 2014 press briefing, July 24, 2014

Overall, 1 in 12 men reported that they had ever been arrested or convicted for same-sex behavior. Compared to men who had never been arrested or convicted, those who had reported "significantly impaired access to a variety of HIV prevention interventions," Santos said. Among those who already had HIV, men who had been arrested had significantly less access to HIV treatment.

"Enforcement of punitive laws for sex between men has a strong negative impact in access to HIV prevention and care services among MSM," the researchers concluded. "The criminalization of same sex behaviors needs to be overturned to effectively address HIV among MSM and respond to the public health needs of this population."

8/12/14

Reference

G-M Santos, K Makofane, S Arreola, et al. Criminalization of same-sex behavior is harmful to public health: significant reductions in access to HIV prevention and care services associated with arrest and convictions for sex between men. 20th International AIDS Conference. Melbourne, July 20-25 2014. Abstract TUAD0201.