The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF)


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

Monday, August 3, 2015

Sign This Petition to Support the Decriminalization of Sex Work and Protect All Human Rights



The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) would like to formally commend Amnesty International on their draft policy supporting decriminalization of sex work. We know that more than two years of extensive research has preceded your conclusions and proposals. The draft policy is critical to advancing the human rights of sex workers and addressing the violence sex workers experience in their day‐to‐day lives. You have our congratulations and our unwavering support.

Amnesty International has been receiving backlash from some high profile celebrities who are unfortunately ill-informed on this issue. We hope you will stand with us to protect sex workers by signing this petition from the Global Network of Sex Work Projects.

MSMGF supports full decriminalization of sex work and opposes the conflation of sex work with human trafficking. Such conflation of issues is stigmatizing, exacerbates violence, and reinforces legal systems that exploit, mistreat and subordinate sex workers. It also undermines public health efforts to end AIDS by creating barriers to prevention and care services. 




About MSMGF: MSMGF has worked since its founding in 2006 to encourage targeted, tailored, better-resourced, and rights-based sexual health services for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) worldwide, through its advocacy and technical support work. As a global network, MSMGF has successfully influenced HIV responses at the local level through shifts in global- level policies and has effectively utilized public health as an entry point for advancing the human rights of LGBT people. MSMGF currently supports programs in 15 countries.

MEDIA CONTACT 
Jack Mackenroth 
jmackenroth@msmgf,org 


Thursday, July 16, 2015

PrEP for MSM Cannot Wait


 PrEP for MSM Cannot Wait 

The Leading Global Network on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) Calls for Communities of Men Who Have Sex With Men Worldwide to Rally Behind Sexual Health Strategies

July 15, 2015 (Oakland,CA)--MSMGF calls for the widespread availability of and access to pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) as an integral part of comprehensive sexual health programs for men who have sex with men (MSM), ahead of the International AIDS Society’s Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment, and Prevention Conference in Vancouver, July 19-22.

Clinical guidelines for the use of PrEP among MSM are set forth by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Grounded in scientific research, PrEP is a crucial addition to the collection of effective HIV prevention strategies for HIV-negative MSM, including MSM who may be in serodiscordant relationships or MSM who are considered to be at an elevated risk for acquiring HIV. Optimizing the success of PrEP necessitates scaling up comprehensive sexual health programs in close partnership with local MSM-led community-based organizations.

The facts about PrEP bear repeating: 1) PrEP provides a high-degree of protection against new HIV infections when taken as recommended; 2) the use of PrEP does not increase high-risk behavior among MSM; 3) MSM who perceive themselves to be at risk for HIV are more likely to be adherent to PrEP; and 4) the efficacy of PrEP is bolstered when MSM have access to supplementary sexual health initiatives and live in an environment that fosters PrEP adherence. 


“Now is the time to step up community demand for comprehensive sexual health programs that include PrEP,” asserts Dr. George Ayala, Executive Director of MSMGF. “Community-led educational and advocacy campaigns are still sorely needed to ensure availability, access, and uptake to interventions that work.”


Nearly 80% of MSM around the world still lack basic or sufficient HIV prevention services despite the proven efficacy of such interventions.1 Therefore PrEP should not be seen as the sole means of preventing HIV infection, but rather used as part of a comprehensive approach, which includes unfettered access to condoms and lubricants, routine HIV testing, risk-reduction counselling, early anti-retroviral care and treatment for MSM living with HIV, and adherence coaching when PrEP or treatment is offered. In addition, routine screening and treatment for other sexually transmitted infections are critical. These options are most effective when delivered in a non-discriminatory setting where MSM feel safe and welcomed.

“We should be advancing public discussion and action around PrEP,” insists Dr. Ayala. “There is unfinished business on the research and implementation fronts that still need watchdogging. New and exciting approaches are on the horizon, including the promise of long-term injectables. The importance of PrEP is bigger than its HIV prevention potential and our actions shouldn’t be clouded by outmoded thinking. PrEP can be a catalyst for mobilizing community through a more progressive vision for the sexual health and wellness of MSM. We can demand more.”


About MSMGF: MSMGF has worked since its founding in 2006 to encourage targeted, tailored, better-resourced, and rights-based sexual health services for gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) worldwide, through its advocacy and technical support work. As a global network, MSMGF has successfully influenced HIV responses at the local level through shifts in global- level policies and has effectively utilized public health as an entry point for advancing the human rights of LGBT people. MSMGF currently supports programs in 15 countries.

MEDIA CONTACT
Jack Mackenroth
jmackenroth@msmgf,org

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1 Arreola,S.,etal.AccesstoHIVpreventionandtreatment for men who have sex with men: Findings from the 2012 Global Men’s Health and Rights Study (GMHR). 2012 [Cited 15 July 2015]; Available from: http://www. msmgf.org/files/msmgf/documents/GMHR_2012.pdf. 



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Copyright © 2015 The Global Forum on MSM & HIV, All rights reserved. 

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 www.aidsmonument.org .

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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,


The MSMGF

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 nrafif@msmgf.org

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


Cordialement,

MSMGF