Despite the Global Fund’s progressive policies on the inclusion of gay men, other men who have sex with men and transgender individuals (GMT) in programmes supported by the Fund, only a tiny fraction of the money spent by the Fund in six countries in Southern Africa has targeted this population.
This is one of the conclusions of a new study from the Foundation for AIDS Research (amfAR) and the Center for Public Health and Human Rights at the John Hopkins University School of Public Health.
The study examined funding from the Global Fund, the US government and national governments – and the implementation of programmes for GMT – in Botswana, Malawi, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The study found that less than one tenth of one percent of the $1.5 billion spent by the Global Fund on HIV programmes in these six countries in Rounds 1-10 and in the Transitional Funding Mechanism round supported the GMT population. Moreover, the study found, the majority of this support was concentrated in just one of the six countries (Namibia).
According to the report on the study, although the HIV epidemic among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) is expanding, programmes often neglect this population. "Stigma and discrimination against MSM flourish with impunity in countries that receive significant donor funding for HIV," the report said.
Although national planning documents and donor funding agreements mention MSM, little programming actually exists, the report said. "GMT struggle to obtain the most basic health services. They are isolated, criminalized, blackmailed and beaten."
In addition, the report said, little to no attention is paid to the needs of transgender people.
Citing UNAIDS, the report said that national governments currently spend almost no money on programs for GMT. "This leaves a patchwork of isolated interventions sponsored by international donors that is inadequate to prevent further expansion of the epidemic."
According to the report, there were 29 HIV proposals submitted to the Global Fund by these six countries, of which 19 were approved. Of the approved proposals, 58% percent made no mention of MSM; 32% mentioned MSM but did not include any specific activities targeting MSM; and 11% – only two proposals – contained activities targeting MSM.
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