Amid reports of a higher likelihood of AIDS affliction among homosexual men in developing countries, the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) has called on policymakers to put aside their prejudices and to provide the resources and the leadership required to deal with the disease.
The organisation has been moved by a new study at Johns Hopkins University's Bloomberg School of Public Health, suggesting that homosexual men have an average of 19 times greater chance of being infected with HIV than the general population in 38 low and middle-income countries.
Published in the open-access journal PLoS Medicine, the study also suggests that this risk is 100 times higher in some countries.
The results also indicate that even in countries with low HIV prevalence in the general population, the epidemic among homosexual men is raging.
"Even in countries that have made progress overall, we are still seeing very high rates of HIV among MSM (men who have sex with men)," said Dr. Stefan Baral, lead author of the study and resident physician, Department of Epidemiology, Center for Public Health and Human Rights.
Kevin Frost, amfAR's chief executive officer, said that the policymakers should provide the resources to match the severity of the epidemic among homosexual men.
"Populations with very high HIV prevalence are largely ignored in HIV prevention policies," said Frost. "Increased surveillance, research, and HIV prevention can curb HIV transmission among MSM and reduce the global HIV burden. But if we don't overcome institutional prejudices and treat this epidemic seriously in the populations that are most affected, we will never beat AIDS," he added.