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Gay and bi men have 22 times the HIV risk but get less than 1% of HIV funding

Gay and bi men have 22 times the HIV risk but get less than 1% of HIV funding

  • Many countries are failing to use HIV money on gay, trans and other high risk groups.
Injection drug user in Moscow. Photo posed by model.

Lower and middle income countries are only dedicating a small amount of their HIV resources to gay, bi and trans people – despite them being at massively higher risk.

A new report shows how many nations are failing to spend money on fighting HIV among LGBT+ people, sex workers and injection drug users.

It says gay and bi men are at 22 times higher risk than other men of getting HIV but only 0.58% of HIV funding is spent on them.

Likewise, trans people are at 12 times higher risk than others. But they get even less of the funding – just 0.06%

Similarly sex workers – at 21 times greater risk – and injection drug users – at 22 times – only get 1% of funding between them.

The study by Dutch not-for-profit organization Aidsfonds says the way HIV spending is allocated is making it harder to eradicate the virus.

Its report breaks down funding in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the Caribbean, the Middle East and North Africa, Latin America, Western and Central Africa, Eastern and Southern Africa, and Asia and the Pacific.

And it concludes: ‘Major funders need to significantly increase funding for HIV programming

for key populations to get the global AIDS response on track.’

‘Staggering gap’

The research is based on spending between 2016 and 2018. Aidsfonds says countries are failing to tackle the virus by ignoring key risk populations:

‘Gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men, transgender people, sex workers and people who inject drugs, continue to bear the brunt of the epidemic, and lack access to HIV services due to stigma and criminalization. 

‘Programmes targeting key populations receive only 2% of all HIV funding, even though key populations accounted for over half of all new infections.

‘There is a staggering gap of 80% between the budget required for HIV programmes targeting key populations and the amount made available.’

HIV campaigners around the world are pushing governments to try to end new HIV transmissions by 2030.

They say scientists, health workers and policy makers now have the tools they need to achieve this. However, it will only be possible if they focus on high risk groups.