Men who Have Sex with Men (MSM) is an inclusive public health term to describe male persons who engage in sexual activities with members of the same sex, irrespective of their sexual identity. Due to a strict and prohibitive socio-cultural and legal environment, male-to-male sexual practices are often misunderstood and highly stigmatised, thus creating barriers for MSM to access HIV prevention, treatment, care and support services.
Some 173,000 MSM are estimated to be living in Malaysia, with an HIV prevalence of 7%. As the trend of sexual (hetero, or homo/bisexual) transmission of HIV in Malaysia continues to be on the rise, pragmatic evidence-informed responses to reduce the risk of and vulnerabilities associated with HIV infection amongst MSM call for aggressive scale-up.
“Whether ‘officially’ recognised or not, sex between men occurs in all societies and between men of all ages. This is as true in the Asia and Pacific region as it is in all parts of the world. Being bold by speaking openly about subjects and behaviours that may be taboo is often necessary for an effective response to AIDS.”