Objective: To review the epidemiology of HIV infection and prevention responses among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Asia.
Methods: A review of the existing scientific literature and governmental and non-governmental reports regarding the epidemiology of HIV infection and prevention responses among MSM in Asia.
Results: Data show that HIV infection is now widespread among MSM throughout Asia. With the exception of the Philippines and Timor Leste, all countries for which information is available show epidemics of HIV infection among MSM, particularly in urban areas. Double-digit HIV prevalence among MSM is found in cities in China, Taiwan, India, Myanmar and Thailand. Incidence data, although scarce, confirm the ongoing transmission of HIV among MSM. Reports of new HIV diagnoses in MSM have been increasing in recent years, particularly in the developed economies of East Asia.
HIV prevention responses have started in most Asian countries, but while the exact coverage and investment of such responses remain unclear, coverage seems to be far from the 60-80% level needed to have an effect on the HIV epidemic. Both Government and donor investment in prevention programs for MSM remain inadequate, especially when compared with the contribution of male-to-male transmission to the overall burden of the HIV epidemic.
Conclusion: Enlarged HIV prevention coverage and increased financial investment are necessary to reduce the spread of HIV infection among MSM in Asia.
aThailand Ministry of Public Health – US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Collaboration, Nonthaburi, Thailand and Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, Atlanta, Georgia, USA
bAustralian Research Centre in Sex, Health and Society, La Trobe University, Melbourne, Australia.
Correspondence to Dr Frits van Griensven, Thailand Ministry of Public Health – US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Collaboration, DDC7 Building, Ministry of Public Health, Nonthaburi 11000, Thailand. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org