Author: M. G.
Surveys and statistics prove that men who have sex with men (MSM) and young people face higher rates of HIV than the average. So, young MSM (YMSM) are one of the most endangered categories of all, especially in countries out of the western industrialized areas. In these countries homophobia is often a big social problem and one of the main barrier for the spreading of knowledge about HIV/AIDS matters. MSMGF (MSM Global Forum), they recently did a research about the conditions of YMSM worldwide. The situation that portrays is far from being positive. The study - of over 2400 young YMSM - shows higher rates of homophobia and violence, lower access to HIV prevention and treatment compared to older men. Different life conditions of MSM under and over 30 years old imply a different risk of HIV infections. For example, the combination of homophobia and economical factors can make for a risk for YMSM since they often depend on families for living and if they are kicked out - and it often happens - they may be forced to trade sex for food, shelter or protection. However, even when economical factors are not involved, being YMSM means also understanding for the first time in your life who you really are, and this is an extremely difficult moment, both emotionally and psychologically. In the MSMGF's report we can read "Homophobia and discrimination are still two of the main issues that YMSM have to deal with every day (...). Most YMSM are more focused on the challenges of coming to terms with their sexual orientation and identity than they are on their sexual health. We cannot address sexual health for YMSM without acknowledging these issues" (Sergio López, Paraguay). We talked about numbers and categories, and the word YMSM sounds pretty cold too, but this is all about real people's lives. Taking off the statistical language, a YOUNG GAY has to face a more difficult reality than the normal and, when the social conditions are okay, they have to fight against their hormones - yes, because being educated about safe sex does still not mean that the gap between theory and practice is filled. HIV is a multi-layered issue, its complexity is the same as our society, the more you study it, the more contradictions you seem to find. This is why wearing a condom and getting tested are two extremely easy actions that many people still find impossible to do. So I can't press enough the importance of just doing it, it's easy and it can protect you and your partner. And these actions don't have to differ between straight, black, white, homosexual, bisexual, ... People. They should be universally accepted and practiced!