The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)

Working worldwide against HIV for the health and human rights of men who have sex with men.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

MSMGF Board Member, Tom Whitman, Joins Board of National AIDS Monument

(Los Angeles) June 10, 2015--The Foundation for a National AIDS Monument today announced three new members of its Board of Directors. Actor and activist  Zachary Quinto, William Morris Endeavor Board Member Mark Itkin and marketing executive and MSMGF Board Member Tom Whitman (pictured). All three men add a wealth of knowledge, leadership and experience to support the growth and development of the AIDS Monument, located in West Hollywood, CA.

The Foundation for an AIDS Monument has been working with the City of West Hollywood and local community members to plan for the development of an enduring physical and interactive testament to the historic and future fight against HIV and AIDS. The physical monument, as envisioned by internationally acclaimed artist Daniel Tobin, will honor HIV/AIDS activists, caregivers and community leaders, and memorialize those impacted by the devastation of HIV/AIDS on a local and national level.

Tom Whitman, Tom Whitman Presents (TWP) — Tom Whitman is the Senior Vice President/Director of Flip, the LGBT division of integrated marketing agency ion+Radarworks, with offices in Los Angeles, Seattle and New York. Tom has made a career of specializing in connecting Fortune 500 brands to the LGBT consumer through a range of integrated marketing plans, including experiential, digital, print, influencer marketing and social media. His deep experience in delivering creative and innovative programs ranges from television and event production to advertising, marketing and communications. A much sought after thought-leader and expert on LGBT marketing and promotions, Tom also serves in leadership positions on the Board of Directors of AIDS Project Los Angeles, GLAAD, the Global Forum on MSM and HIV, and is active in the regional, national and global LGBT non-profit space.

"The National AIDS monument will be a catalyst for conversations that can help save lives. We are equally grateful for Tom's experience in building community and marketing campaigns as well as his relevant Board experience," said Jason H. Kennedy, Board vice-chair.

The monument will be located in Los Angeles in West Hollywood Park, which is undergoing an $86 million renovation. The foundation Board chose Daniel Tobin of Urban Arts Project to design the monument.

For more information about the AIDS Monument in West Hollywood, please visit .


Friday, June 19, 2015

Successes, Concerns and Next Steps in Engaging Men Who Have Sex with Men and Other Key Populations PEPFAR Country Operational Plans: STAY ENGAGED!

June 18, 2015 – The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) attended the PEPFAR Country Operational Plan (COP) Review, held during the week of June 6th, in Windhoek, Namibia.  COPs for 6 PEPFAR recipient countries – Cameroon, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, and Uganda – were discussed and revised.

MSMGF together with global and local partners raised major concerns with the draft COP proposals being submitted, including: 1) Insufficient clarity on security protections for community organizations working with key populations, 2) Weak key populations data, compounded by proposed underfunding of integrated bio-behavioral surveillance (IBBS) studies of men who have sex with men and sex workers, 3) Unambitious national prevention coverage targets, and 4) Uncertainty over how program funds would reach community-based organizations rather than large international NGOs.

By week’s end, MSMGF and its civil society partners received important commitments from the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) and PEPFAR teams that programming for key populations would be strengthened in the final approved COPs. The full community update on the COP review process is available online.  A downloadable PDF version is on the MSMGF website here.

MSMGF and others key global partners have consistently presented to OGAC recurrent concerns expressed by advocates working at community level across PEPFAR funded countries. For the complete breakdown of country-specific recommendations and requests made to OGAC, download our compiled list here.

Kind regards,


Friday, June 12, 2015

Pope Francis Agrees to Historic Meeting With Simón Cazal, a Married Gay Activist and MSMGF Steering Committee Member

Pope Francis is slated to hold his first public meeting with a married gay activist during a visit to Paraguay On July 11th. 

Activist Simón Cazal, executive director of the Paraguayan LGBT rights group SOMOSGAY, husband of Sergio López (pictured below at the MSMGF Strategic Planning meeting) will have a public audience with the pope in Paraguay. The couple was married in Argentina in 2012. While Pope Francis has held meetings with LGBTI people in the past, this marks the first time he will publicly meet with a married, gay political activist.

Simón currently serves as the Latin American NGO delegate on the Program Coordinating Board of UNAIDS and has been an active member of the MSMGF since January 2011.

"We were delighted to receive news of Simón's invitation to participate in a discussion with the Pope," said Dr.George Ayala, Executive Director of The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF). "The invitation is a testament to Simón's respected advocacy work in Paraguay and regionally on behalf of LGBT people."

Cazal received the invitation on June 4th from the committee of the Paraguayan bishops’ conference to participate in a roundtable with the pope and civil society leaders. The invitation said it was extended in recognition of the “high impact of your organization on Paraguayan society.” 
The invitation continued, "We request the presence of a representative of your organization as a contribution to this meeting as it will strengthen the development of a culture of trust that allows us all Paraguayans build a better country."
Somosgay had not requested the meeting. It came as a total surprise to the couple and the organization.  Paraguay also is one of the few South American countries where no protections exist for LGBT people or same-sex couples; their marriage in Argentina has no legal force in their country.
The invitation comes shortly after SOMOSGAY launched a campaign calling on the Catholic Church to “abandon the positions of intolerance and insults dehumanizing LGBT people.” They are  also counting on the pope to address the issue of violence targeting LGBT people. 

We at MSMGF anxiously await the developments of this historic event which will be held on July 11 in the capital, Asunción. Kudos Simon and SOMOSGAY!!
Please visit MSMGF on Facebook and share this exciting news!

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Mise à jour sur les réussites et défis de l’engagement des populations clés dans le cadre du processus du Plan opérationnel national 2015

5 juin 2015- Le Forum mondial sur les HSH & le VIH (MSMGF) continue à travailler avec le Bureau américain de la coordination mondiale pour le Sida (OGAC) et les réseaux de la société civile pour s’assurer de l’engagement significatif des populations clés dans le processus du Plan opérationnel national du PEPFAR (COP) de 2015. Comme nous l’avons présenté dans nos mises à jour communautaires de Mars et d’Avril, l’OGAC a publié les nouvelles conditions du processus PEPFAR COP qui mandatent un engagement plus significatif des équipes nationales du PEPFAR avec les représentants de la société civile, y compris les populations clés, dans le processus PEPFAR COP 2015.

Nous continuons à identifier des défis dans les évaluations des COP, y compris : 1) une estimation insuffisante de la taille des populations clés au niveau national, 2) des propositions insuffisantes pour améliorer les données sur les populations clés, 3) une considération inadéquate de la situation des droits humains dans la mise à disposition de la programmation pour les populations clés, 4) une couverture inadéquate des cibles pour les populations clés, 5) un sous financement de la programmation pour les populations clés au niveau des régions dans le pays, qui passe au second plan en raison du PEPFAR« pivot », et 6) une communication insuffisante avec les groupes de la société civile qui représentent les populations clés sur le plan national.

Nous rappelons nos partenaires de la société civile qu’il existe différents moyens pour rester engagé dans les processus PEPFAR COP 2015 et au-delà : la mise à jour communautaire intégrale est disponible en ligne. Une version PDF peut être téléchargée sur le site du MSMGF ICI.

Vous êtes priés de communiquer vos réactions et questions/préoccupations éventuelles à Nadia Rafif, Senior Policy Advisor à l’adresse

Nous vous remercions infiniment pour votre engagement apprécié dans ce processus critique.



Friday, June 5, 2015

Update on Successes and Challenges to Engagement of Key Populations in the PEPFAR 2015 Country Operational Plan Process

June 5, 2015 - The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) continues to work with the U.S. Office of the Global AIDS Coordinator (OGAC) and civil society networks to monitor the meaningful engagement of in-country key populations in the PEPFAR Country Operational Plan (COP) 2015 process. As we presented in our March and April community updates, OGAC has issued new PEPFAR COP process requirements that mandate a more meaningful engagement of PEPFAR country teams with civil society representatives of key populations in the PEPFAR COP 2015 process.

We remind our civil society partners that there are multiple ways to remain engaged in the PEPFAR COP processes, in 2015 and beyond. We remind you of the crucial and urgent need to:

  1. Stay in contact with your PEPFAR country team via email, phone, or ideally in-person meetings to communicate key populations programming and data concerns, even after the COP is submitted to OGAC 
  2. Ensure that you receive a final version of the approved COP from the PEPFAR country team 
  3. Participate in formal civil society consultations that are required to occur at least once a quarter, and advocate that these consultations include meaningful participation by key populations groups 
  4. Communicate with other major donors and key stakeholders, such as the Global Fund and the local Ministry of Health, to align priorities for key populations programming 
  5. Advocate that normative guidance for key populations programming, such as the WHO Consolidated Guidelines, be integrated into PEPFAR COP strategy

We would appreciate hearing your perspectives on how PEPFAR engagement is going at country level, including examples of successes, positive experiences, and ongoing challenges. 
Please communicate your feedback and any questions/concerns you may have to Nadia Rafif, Senior Policy Advisor, at
We thank you kindly for your much-appreciated engagement with this critical process.

The full community update is available online. A downloadable PDF version is on the MSMGF website HERE.
Kind regards,


Thursday, May 28, 2015

MSMGF Convenes Top Influencers in the Global HIV Arena to Develop Bold Strategic Plan of Action Moving Forward

May 26th, 2015 (Oakland, CA)Earlier this month, The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) assembled a think tank of over 50 global influencers for a forecast scenario consultation, marking the start of its Strategic Planning process. The goal: envision the future and inspire creativity, adapting to a rapidly changing environment so as to serve gay men, other men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender people most effectively and efficiently.
The global HIV landscape is changing at an accelerated pace. Advances in HIV treatment and prevention are promising but challenges still persist due to lack of access, civil rights inequities and other issues facing MSM and transgender people around the world. MSMGF also recognizes opportunities to capitalize on the technology boom to reach more people than ever before in a very direct way using fewer resources.

The 3-day consultation included the leadership of all MSM regional networks, the MSMGF Board and Steering Committee and leadership from both the Youth and Transgender Reference Groups. There was impassioned participation and interaction by activists, researchers, funders and policy makers alike.
Some of the many highlights were presentations on changes at PEPFAR by Cornelius Baker, Civil Society Leadership, Office of Global AIDS Coordination and Health Diplomacy, U.S. State Department, and an overview on the Global Fund to End AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria’ Strategic Framework given by Kate Thompson, the Head of the Critical Enablers and Civil Society Hub. MSMGF will extend Strategic Planning through December 2015 with a final plan presented in early 2016. This process will allow us to consider parallel strategic planning processes already underway in the Global Fund, UNAIDS, UNDP and WHO and better align with them where appropriate.

View a full selection of photos from the event to share and tag on Facebook HERE.

In the coming months, look out for additional opportunities to input into the future strategic direction of MSMGF and partnering towards a shared vision of zero new HIV infections, zero AIDS-related deaths and zero discrimination.