Stark warning of gay HIV crisis in Latin America

NGO report warns of impending HIV crisis among gay and trans in Latin America.

Stark warning of gay HIV crisis in Latin America
23 January 2012

Experts are warning of an impending HIV crisis among gay men and transgender people in Latin America as a result of vital funding cuts.

Millions of people will have to go without HIV services and many may die waiting for treatment as a result of the Global Fund's cuts to grants, according to a report by The International HIV/AIDS Alliance.

The organization which funds HIV prevention and treatment services worldwide announced it had cancelled its next funding round and that no new grants would be approved until 2014 because of a dramatic drop in donations and the global economic crisis.

Alliance's report Don't Stop Now claims the cuts will have dramatic consequences for LGBT groups, particularly in Latin America where, according to the NGO's regional representative Javier Hourcade Bellocq, 15 to 20% of gay men are living with HIV and, more worringly, 35 to 40% of transgender are HIV positive.

'Across the board, the resources available to work with gay organizations will be considerably less in the future,' Bellocq told Gay Star News.

'That, of course, affects the progress we are making in terms of not only the availability of condoms and lube, materials for HIV prevention, workshops and education, but also strengthening communities to become stronger players in the HIV response.'

LGBT groups will be hardest hit in conservative countries such as Bolivia, where governments are often unwilling to spend money on groups whose practices are often unpopular and/or criminalised.

Belocq added that those from the transgender community will be the biggest victims of the funding cuts.

He said: 'It will have huge implications on this group people. 

'Alliance are among the organizations which are at the centre of responding to the HIV crisis and strengthening LGBT organizations, but if you don’t have the resources to help these people and movements, we will be in serious trouble.

'The epidemic will continue to be concentrated among this group and grow. The life expectancy of a transgender person is 33 years old and the main cause of death is HIV.'

The Global Fund, which celebrates its 10th anniversary this month, began collecting donations from governments and private foundations in January 2002.

Since then, it has approved over $22 billion dollars for hundreds of programs in more than 150 countries.

About 50 countries have contributed. The United States has been the biggest donor, providing 33% of the funds pledged each year. In 2010, it pledged more than one billion dollars.

However, when the fund’s board met in Accra, Ghana, in November, officials decided to cancel the next funding round, round eleven.

Officials now say most of the more than $8 billion in donations expected to arrive by the end of 2013 will be needed to renew existing grants.

The International HIV/AIDS Alliance estimates the shortfall to be about $2 billion.

HAVE YOUR SAY

MORE TOP STORIES

No thumbnail available

Footballer Joey Barton to sue over 'come out as gay' article

British soccer player slams 'shocking' Daily Mail piece which suggests he should be the sport's 'gay hero'
No thumbnail available

‘Gay sex orgy’ sculpture causes outrage in US town

Contemporary sculpture in Michigan condemned by local pastor as an abomination, despite the figures being sexless
No thumbnail available

Australia PM Kevin Rudd promises marriage equality if elected

‘I support marriage equality, I believe this is a mark of decency to same sex couples across the country and for that to be formalized’
No thumbnail available

Pam Ann’s favorite things to do in Sydney

Pam Ann guides us around her favorite neighborhoods and things to see and do in Sydney as we look forward to the city’s LGBT Mardi Gras
No thumbnail available

The great Grindr experiment

Finding it hard to meet guys? One skeptical GSN reporter gets ready to Grindr
No thumbnail available

Soccer rep reveals talks with eight gay football stars

Chair of Britain’s Professional Footballers Association says media reaction is one thing which dissuades football professionals from coming out
No thumbnail available

Over 200,000 people demand Obama enacts ‘Leelah's Law’ to protect trans youth

An online petition is calling on Barack Obama to enact a law protecting transgender youth from the conversion therapy which is suspected to have contributed to Leelah Alcorn’s suicide
No thumbnail available

Lesbian teen beaten by four men in Kentucky

Attackers reportedly yelled anti-gay slurs during the beating
No thumbnail available

Mars defends Maltesers advert: It doesn’t turn people gay or ridicule male closeness

A long-running TV commercial has prompted complaints after a recent airing in Australia: some viewers felt it could turn people gay, while others felt that it was mocking man-on-man affection
No thumbnail available

Uganda president says 'don't kill the gays'

President Yoweri Museveni is against execution of gay people despite bill calling for death penalty for 'aggravated homosexuality'