Addis Ababa, Ethiopia

A pre-conference on men who have sex with men (MSM) in Africa and HIV is planned to take place in Ethiopia ahead of the 16th International Conference on AIDS and STIs in Africa (ICASA).

The “Claim, Scale-up, and Sustain” event is being hosted by the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) on December 3, at the Jupiter International Hotel in Addis Ababa.

A 2007 global survey found Ethiopians to have the second highest anti-gay sentiment in the world, with 97% saying that homosexuality should be rejected by society.

Amsher said that the aim of the pre-conference is to highlight MSM/LGBTI and HIV related issues in Africa, to reflect on the state of the response in MSM communities on the continent, and to identify ways forward for scaling up MSM and HIV interventions.

The organisation has partnered with its members, several community and donor organisations, as well as UN institutions “to offer a range of topics that highlight a wide array of the most pressing health and human rights issues facing sexual minorities today”.

These include the criminalisation of consensual same-sex relationships and new biomedical approaches to HIV prevention.

The full-day event will feature presentations from more than 15 of the continent’s top experts on the health and human rights of sexual minorities. The pre-conference will offer a opportunity for experts as well as developing practitioners to cultivate new partnerships, network, build skills, share best practices and conduct hands-on learning.

Homosexuality is outlawed in 38 African countries. HIV/AIDS and human rights organisation say that these laws create a climate of fear and directly impact on their ability to reach and help MSM, one of the most affected sectors of the population.

For more information about the pre-conference, visit

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