Skip to main content

New Paradigms of Risk and Protection: Understanding the HIV Epidemics among Gay and Bisexual Men

December 7, 2012

HIV epidemics among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) are fundamentally different from other groups at risk. These differences help explain why HIV epidemics among these men are expanding in low, middle, and high income countries, including the US, and why current HIV prevention and treatment programs are not working as well as they should. Biological, network, and social/structural factors combine for these men and lead to more rapid and efficient HIV spread in their communities—individual risk behaviors for HIV infection contribute only modestly to these dynamics. Responding to the epidemics of HIV among gay and other MSM will be challenging and require leadership, vision, and new science. This response is critical in order to achieve global control of HIV in the years to come.

This conference will explore how novel and more effective HIV prevention programs for MSM may reduce infectiousness through markedly expanding testing and treatment of HIV-positive men, and reduce risk of acquisition among HIV-negative men through the use of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP), the development of a rectal microbicide, and increased access to and coverage for condoms and condom-compatible lubricant. Current prevention tools and the policy reforms and structural changes key to expanding coverage and reaching men with culturally competent care will be examined. Finally, biologically based efforts, focused on the delivery of effective interventions, to address each gap in the testing to treatment cascade, and ensure safe and affirming spaces for prevention, treatment, and care will be explored.