Monday, September 14, 2015

Implementing Comprehensive HIV and STI Programmes with Men Who Have Sex with Men : PRACTICAL GUIDANCE FOR COLLABORATIVE INTERVENTIONS

Men who have sex with men are disproportionately affected by human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) compared to the general population in nearly all countries collecting reliable surveillance data. In low- and middle-income countries they have 19.3-fold greater odds of being infected with HIV compared with the general population. HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men across North, South and Central America, South and Southeast Asia and sub-Saharan Africa ranges from 14% to 18%. Even as HIV incidence is in decline worldwide, the rate of new HIV infections among men who have sex with men remains unchanged and is increasing in some high-income countries like the United States.

In 2011 the World Health Organization (WHO), the Joint United Nations Programme on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS), the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) and The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) developed a guidance document on Prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually Transmitted infections among men who have sex with men and transgender people.1 The document sets out technical recommendations on interventions for the prevention and treatment of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs) among men who have sex with men. In 2014, WHO released the Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations.2 These bring together all existing guidance related to key populations, including men who have sex with men, with updates on selected guidance and recommendations. The recommendations of these two publications are summarized in Table 1 at the end of this Introduction.

Following the dissemination of the 2011 Recommendations and the 2014 Key Populations Consolidated Guidelines describing effective, evidence-based interventions (the what), a need was expressed for guidance focused on implementation (the how). This publication responds to that need by offering practical advice on implementing HIV and STI programmes for men who have sex with men, aligned with the 2011 Recommendations and the 2014 Key Populations Consolidated Guidelines. It contains examples of good practice from around the world that may support efforts in planning programmes and services, and describes issues that should be considered and how to overcome challenges.

The need for this tool

The health and prevention benefits of antiretroviral therapy (ART) in the management of HIV are now strongly supported by research. Behavioural prevention programmes including use of condoms and lubricant, early diagnosis, prompt linkage to sustained care and ART, and viral suppression constitute points along a comprehensive continuum of HIV-related services. When services are easily accessible, implemented effectively and delivered in close partnership with their intended beneficiaries, this comprehensive continuum of health services reduces morbidity, mortality and onward transmission of HIV.

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