APCOM convenes 200 Forum to full house in Bali [August 2009]

Latest data shows HIV infection among men who have sex with men in Asia Pacific poses looming health crisis

Picture of JVR Prasada Rao speaking at Forum
JVR Prasada Rao challenges the Forum delegates

Accelerating infection rates can only be reversed by government-led interventions, increased funding, scaled-up coverage and steps to end stigmatisation

BALI – Soaring HIV infection rates among men who have sex with men (MSM) and transgender (TG) communities throughout Asia Pacific pose a looming health crisis that cannot be reversed until governments in the region close ranks and allocate the funding and resources necessary to scale up prevention interventions and end the stigmatization and criminalization of these at-risk target groups.

The latest epidemiological data, released today at a forum held by the Asia Pacific Coalition on Male Sexual Health (APCOM) in Bali, shows that epidemics in the region are accelerating, with estimated HIV prevalence rates in Bangkok above 30 percent, and hovering just below 30 percent in Yangon, Myanmar. One alarming trend is the high rate of infection among the youngest segments of the MSM and TG communities. A newly completed study in Thailand that followed 1,000 HIV-negative MSM for 3 years found that eventually 20 percent became HV infected with HIV. Among those between 18 and 22, the infection rate was a staggering 30 percent.

Frits van Griensven, Chief, Behavioral Research, US CDC, said, “HIV has established itself in all Southeast Asian cities, with Bangkok and Yangon the most alarming. In Myanmar we are seeing the same pattern as in Bangkok, starting with the very young.  ...

Read the full news story on the 200 Forum.

Presentations from 200 Forum (in PDF format)