Convention on gay HIV+ men: a community initiative to incite MSM mobilisation
Issues: Gay men develop sexual harm reduction strategies based on the knowledge of the partners HIV status. AIDES a community based association collects testimonials from HIV+ Gays who feel they no longer have a place in their community: Although HIV is no longer in the headlines, it is still very present. AIDES brought HIV+ Gays and Gay associations together so the former could share their experiences and be heard.
Description: The Convention was held over three days in November 2006. 200 HIV+Gays took part. Workshops were held on prevention, health, relations with the community, daily life and love and sex lives. The main points of the workshops were presented to LGBT associations and public authorities.
Lessons learned: This event highlighted the difference between those infected before the arrival of treatments and those infected after their arrival. The latter are often younger and spoke of their discomfort when confronted with the physical effects of the illness on their elders. There is a link between socio-economic precariousness and being HIV-positive. The double whammy of serophobia and homophobia can easily become a triple whammy by adding social inequality. For many the gay community is a place of discrimination and rejection. Bringing together such a large and diverse group of HIV+ gays gives a real validity to the conclusions. That LGBT associations were present permitted a more efficient dissemination of the conclusions in the gay communities.
Next steps: The participants expressed their wish to talk about sexuality and their status. They would like to be able to talk things over with HIV- gays. The variety of experiences was underlined by the subject of growing old with HIV. These demands have to be transformed into actions. In the presentation, we will go over the taboo around being positive in gay communities and its consequences on the fight against HIV/AIDS.
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