Report sheds light on HIV among gay men in Burma

Those who already have the virus are being neglected, says Doctors Without Borders

Report sheds light on HIV among gay men in Burma
13 September 2012

A report revealing the high rates of HIV among gay men in Burma was published by Voice of America this week.

HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Burma is one of the highest in the Southeast Asia region, currently at around 11%.

The video report visits Burma’s largest supernatural spirit festival Nat Festival, which is popular with gay men and interviews gay spirit medium Ko Chit Tae. ‘HIV affects the gay community,’ he said. ‘It’s highly likely with homosexuals having frequent unprotected sexual intercourse with each other.’

Although national programs are helping to stem the spread of HIV, those who already have the virus get little help. International group Doctors without Borders provides 70% of the antiretroviral drugs in the country.

‘There is a treatment gap of 80,000 people approximately in need of life-saving treatment,’ said Doctors Without Borders’ Burma director Duncan Bell about the shortfall in funding for antiretroviral therapy.

Benjamin Law, who spent time with gay men with HIV in Burma while reaching his book Gaysia, told Gay Star News the root cause is the country’s poverty.

‘You have a government with one of the world’s lowest (if not the lowest) per capita spending on health for its citizens,’ said Law.

‘There’s also a desperate lack of sex education stemming from entrenched poverty (it’s estimated that Burma’s GDP per capita is between North Korea’s and Afghanistan’s). Then you’ve got young men relying on sex work to survive, especially in the cities.’

Watch the Voice of America report here:  

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Australia's Channel 10 edits gay love scenes on Glee, leaves heterosexual scenes intact

Scenes between Kurt and Blaine and Santana and Quinn are trimmed
No thumbnail available

Twelve men to be executed by Libyan militia for allegedly being gay

An extremist Salafist militia in Libya captured twelve men promising to mutilate and kill them for allegedly being gay
No thumbnail available

Trial for Florida A & M University hazing death to start next week

Four band members face charges of felony hazing and manslaughter
No thumbnail available

Hong Kong's highest court rules for dancers at gay rally

The Court of Final Appeal has ended a three-year battle over the 'right to dance' at protests
No thumbnail available

President Obama releases proclamation on World AIDS Day

In a proclamation for World AIDS Day, President Barack Obama notes his signature legislation requires HIV testing to be covered without out-of-pocket costs
This whale is so gay it can create its own rainbows

This whale is so gay it can create its own rainbows

Humpback whale joins in with the Pride season by blowing rainbows
No thumbnail available

Elton John breaks Chinese censorship to honor Ai Weiwei at Beijing gig

Veteran performer dedicates show to dissident artist after meeting him in Beijing
No thumbnail available

Lithuania plans more anti-gay laws

Lithuanian homophobe politician Petras Gražulis gets new anti-gay laws onto parliament agenda
No thumbnail available

On season premiere of talk show, Anderson Cooper opens up about coming out

'I've been torn for a long time between a desire as a reporter to do just do my job'
No thumbnail available

Gay marriage is also now legal in Colorado

Same-sex couples in all 64 Colorado counties are now allowed to get married