Communities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people working together to develop effective HIV/AIDS prevention strategies and lobby for protection of human rights.
Communities of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people exist in every country around the world, whether we are easily visible or not. In many places, we are engaged in a struggle to secure basic human rights and access to healthcare. Members of LGBT communities often face extreme stigma, discrimination, and violence at the individual, community, and structural level. Not only does this result in human rights violations against LGBT people, it also impedes our access to live-saving HIV services.
5 things you should know about lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people
- In 2017, 76 countries criminalize homosexuality, with 15 countries implementing the death sentence for such acts;
- Recent research has estimated that HIV prevalence among gay men and other men who have sex with men (MSM) is as high as 15% in South Asia, 14% in sub-Saharan Africa and 6.6% in Eastern Europe and Central Asia;
- Due to stigma, discrimination, and criminalization, the HIV epidemic among MSM continues to go largely unaddressed in many countries. As of December 2011, 93 countries had failed to report any data on HIV prevalence among MSM over the previous 5 years, and reports indicate that less than 2% of global HIV prevention funding is directed toward MSM.
- Despite an urgent need for intervention, research indicates that less than 10% of gay men and other MSM around the world have access to HIV prevention services. Findings from the 2014 Global Men’s Health and Rights Study (GMHR), a multilingual, longitudinal online survey of over 6,000 MSM from more than 160 countries, show that structural barriers like homophobia, violence, and criminalization of homosexuality play a significant role in blocking access to HIV services for MSM. Less than 50% of MSM who participated in the study perceived that condoms, lubricant, HIV testing, and HIV treatment were easily accessible;
- Transgender populations around the world face HIV prevalence rates of between 8% and 68%; very little data exists on access to HIV services among these groups. Globally, it is estimated that around 19% of transgender women are living with HIV.
Bridging the Gaps – Working with and for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Communities by
- Organizing community empowerment activities;
- Providing services that meet the specific needs of LGBT;
- Lobbying and advocating for the protection of LGBT rights to ensure full access to public health care.
This combination is essential to make the fight against HIV/AIDS among LGBT people effective and sustainable. Bridging the Gaps works at the country-level through direct service and capacity building projects in Botswana, Kenya, Indonesia, Kyrgyzstan, South Africa, Tajikistan, Ukraine, Vietnam and Zimbabwe. Country-level projects are supported and strengthened by a global advocacy project for the health and rights of LGBT people.