Thursday, August 2, 2007

Empowering men who have sex with men to fight AIDS

One of the reasons I started this blog was to educate about all of the factors involved in men who have sex with men. One of the main problems is the risk of HIV. Many believe this is because gay and bisexual men are not responsible.

However a large factor is because many straight men who have sex with other men do not bring condoms because to do so would mean they intended to be sexual with another man and that it might mean they are gay. In other words, if I plan it I wanted it and that means I have a gay identity.

This is homophobia at work. Helping men who have sex with men understand that it does not mean their identity is gay or even bisexual can hopefully allow them to plan and use protection and stop the risk of infection to themselves and to the women in their lives to whom they go home.

An article by By Kevin Frost and Dr. Chris Beyrer in Bay Windows - New England's largest GLBT newspaper on July 26, 2007 reads:

Men who have sex with men, or “MSM,” is a term that applies to those who identify as “gay,” but it also includes many MSM throughout the world whose gender and sexual identities defy Western categorization. For instance, in India there are at least three designations: “Kothis” are effeminate MSM who may nonetheless be married to women and have families; “panthis” are masculine men who have sex with kothis; and “hijras,” who are often castrated, are considered to be a third gender altogether.While these groups often do not identify as a cohesive community, they share a vulnerability to HIV/AIDS.

Men who have sex with men are among the most vulnerable populations to HIV transmission worldwide, and yet they continue to be one of the most underserved. Today, fewer than one in 20 MSM has access to basic HIV education, prevention services or care. Many will die of AIDS simply because appropriate programs to support them do not exist.

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