Global Launch of MSMIT: A Comprehensive Guide for Implementing Sexual Health Interventions With Men Who Have Sex with Men

A Comprehensive Guide for Implementing Sexual Health Interventions With Men Who Have Sex with Men

A new and critical tool for implementing comprehensive sexual health services with men who have sex with men has been developed by UNFPA, the United Nations Population Fund and MSMGF (The Global Forum on MSM & HIV), together with UNDP, WHO, USAID, PEPFAR, and BMGF with contributions from over 100 experts from around the world. 

The publication, Implementing Comprehensive HIV and STI Programs with Men Who Have Sex With Men: Practical Guidance for Collaborative Interventions (MSMIT), targets public-health officials and program managers, as well as NGOs and health-workers implementing HIV and STI programs with MSM.

The tool’s chapters are further organized across six areas of focus: community empowerment, violence against men who have sex with men, condom and lubricant programming, health-care services, information and communication technology, and program management. You can download it here. 

“Despite major scientific advances in the fight against HIV and AIDS, health departments around the world lack the necessary know-how to deliver responsive sexual health services targeting men who have sex with men. This and other barriers like criminalization, stigma and violence exacerbate worsening health outcomes among men who have sex with men,” said Dr. George Ayala, Executive Director of MSMGF.

“Globally, at each stage along the continuum of HIV and STI testing, diagnosis, and subsequent care, a majority of MSM drop-off from life-saving services due to these challenges. The MSMIT aims to help planners design and put into action comprehensive programs across the whole spectrum,” added Ayala.

A key feature of the tool are case examples of successful program approaches from around the world, showing how they tackled challenges and found creative solutions to providing programs in environments with few resources, or where there are legal or social obstacles to providing services to MSM.

“These examples show that it can be done,” said Dr. Benoit Kalasa, Director of UNFPA’s Technical Division. “Around the world there are organizations, big and small, that are finding ways to help MSM protect their health and their rights. We hope these examples will provide ideas and encouragement.”

In October 2014, MSMGF convened a consultation of nearly 100 MSM stakeholders from around the world to review an early draft of MSMIT. Scores of community service providers, human rights experts, public health officials, and HIV service consumers were involved in shaping the final draft document.

The MSMIT is a significant milestone in in our work against HIV. The availability of new guidance for countries to design, plan and operationalize their own sexual health services for MSM will help accelerate overall progress. However, our work is not over. MSMGF encourages advocates around the world to monitor the rollout of the WHO Guidelines and the MSMIT and ensure their meaningful uptake. 

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Jack Mackenroth 

About Us: MSMGF has worked since 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.

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