How to get to zero AIDS deaths: Bring in the men

“If we want to get to zero AIDS deaths by 2030, we need to bring in men. Around the world, men are 60% of AIDS deaths. Men are far less likely than women to know their HIV status and to seek treatment. The U.S. Centres for Disease Control (CDC) recently analysed more than 750,000 medical records of patients receiving AIDS treatment in 12 of the hardest-hit countries. In all but one of the countries, men – as a proportion of the HIV-infected populations in their countries – were far less likely to be on treatment”.

“In sub-Saharan Africa, men are only a third of those receiving ART; in other words, women are twice as likely as men to be getting treatment for AIDS. Even when men come for testing, they start treatment later than women, are less likely to adhere to treatment correctly, and are dying earlier from AIDS-related complications”.

“In the U.S., the biggest challenge in HIV is also with men. Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) account for nearly two-thirds of new HIV infections. Young MSM and young black MSM are particularly at risk. And while testing and treatment have been widely available in the U.S., an estimated one in eight of HIV-positive persons in the U.S. are not aware of their status”.

“For many working in the HIV and public health field, it is difficult to think about men as vulnerable. Many of us have spent careers working to empower women and protect them from the behaviours of some men. But it is clear that if we are to reach zero AIDS deaths, we have to change the underlying norms that drive men’s resistance to seeking treatment and their unsafe sexual practices”.

Read the full article here.