New research from UCSF examining HIV among men (MSM) in the township of Soweto in South Africa has found that a third of gay-identified men are infected with HIV.
The study’s authors were the first to examine HIV and the community of men in the Soweto Township, an area on the periphery of Johannesburg reserved for black South Africans during apartheid.
The researchers found that Soweto MSM identified themselves as straight, bise_xual or gay, with the highest HIV rate among gay identified men, at 33.9 percent. The researchers estimated the rate of HIV infection for bise_xual MSM in Soweto to be 6.4 percent and 10 percent for straight identified MSM.
“Our findings clearly indicate that targeted prevention and treatment for men who have s_ex with men in townships are urgently needed. We also found that, despite South Africa’s legal advances in gay rights, stigma and de facto segregation are reflected in the disproportionate rates of HIV infection,” said the study’s principal investigator, Tim Lane, PhD, MPH, assistant professor at the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies
The findings are now available in the online edition of the journal AIDS and Behavior and are scheduled for publication in an upcoming print issue.
“The circumcision findings clearly suggest that for this population of MSM, circumcision could be protective and that MSM should not be excluded from circumcision programs,” said Lane.
Source: University of California, San Francisco, USA