On September 18, UNAIDS reported that there was a more than 25 per cent decline in new cases of HIV in 22 of the most affected countries in Sub-Saharan Africa. Michel Sidibe, UNAIDS executive director, said that "the world was making real progress towards achieving the sixth Millennium Development Goal (MDG6) of halting and reversing the spread of HIV/AIDS by 2015.
The picture is, however, not as encouraging among men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV epidemics are advancing among MSM in both resource-rich and resource-poor countries and also in countries like France where homosexuality has been legal since 1791.
In September 2010, the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention in the United States stated , "Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) represent approximately two per cent of the US population, yet are the population most severely affected by HIV and are the only risk group in which new HIV infections have been increasing steadily since the early 1990s ... MSM have consistently represented the largest percentage of persons diagnosed with AIDS and persons with an AIDS diagnosis who have died."
In 2006 the Los Angeles Gay and Lesbian Centre, recognising the unique challenge HIV presented to the gay community launched an ad campaign stating:
" HIV is a Gay disease. Own it. End it". The campaign was controversial and divided the gay community which had sought to change the stereotypical image of gay men being promiscuous and most likely to be infected. Despite the controversy, the LA Gay and Lesbian Centre insisted that their campaign was supported by fact.
In 2006 LA public health data showed that three out of four HIV cases were the result of gay sex.
Why are MSM in developed countries unable to achieve the successes of the resource-poor countries of Sub-Saharan Africa? What does the epidemiological data indicate about HIV in MSM? Was the LA Gay and Lesbian Centre correct in its conclusion?