Those headlines about President Obama earmarking some $4 billion to fight AIDS globally — a move met with uproar by heckling AIDS activists — didn’t include this startling fact: not even half of men who have sex with men (MSM) around the globe have access to even the most basic means of preventing HIV transmission.
An online survey of 5,000 MSM and their service providers, with some three-quarters responding from “low- and middle-income countries,” finds just 39 percent had easy access to free condoms; 25 percent could get free lube (and 25 percent said lube simply wasn’t available at all); 57 percent had little to no access to HIV testing; 66 percent to HIV education materials; and 70 percent to HIV treatment.
Just how bad are those stats? Pretty terrible when you consider researchers have long concluded that neither circumcision nor abstinence programs are more effective at fighting HIV transmission than condoms, lube, and testing. And don’t even get started on the lacking availability of PrEP meds.