Doctors call on gay men to heed safe sex advice

Published: 27/03/2011 05:00



Doctors have called on men who have
sex with men to brave discrimination and meet peer educators and counsellors to
learn about safe sex and reduce the risk of spreading HIV.

At a
workshop held last Friday on encouraging and increasing intervention to check
HIV transmission among such men by the HCM City AIDS Prevention Committee, Le
Truong Giang, deputy head of the municipal Department of Health, said the
incidence of HIV among MSM has increased rapidly in Viet Nam, including HCM
City, in recent years.

warned it could increase even further if timely preventive measures were not

Thi Hue city of the AIDS Prevention Committee, quoted a report by the Committee as
saying there were nearly 20,000 MSM aged between 15 and 49 in HCM City, but said
the actual number could be 60,000.

A study
in 2009 found that 16.4 per cent of them tested positive for HIV, she said,
mainly getting it through unprotected sex.

A study
by the Family Health International in Viet Nam found that only 24 per cent of
MSM used a condom during sex.

The risk
of HIV spreading from this group is high and could threaten the wider
community’s safety because a large number of MSM could also have sex with women,
Hue said.

some of them are sex workers, meaning there was a high risk of HIV spreading to
other men, she said.

number of MSM with knowledge of protection against transmission remained low
though the city has had an interventional programme for MSM to prevent HIV/AIDS
spread since 2009, she said.

This was
because only a small number of MSM were involved in the programme, with only
9,164 out of the 20,000 meeting with the programme’s peer educators, she said.

A mere
755 have availed the voluntary counselling and testing service, she added.

Dr Hang
Thi Xuan Lan, manager of a project for HIV prevention among male sex workers by
the Centre for Life, said discrimination against MSM was high.

As a
result, many remained in the closet, making it difficult for the project’s peer
educators to reach them, she said.

Nam News

Provide by Vietnam Travel

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