According to the results of studies conducted by the Kazakhstan National AIDS Center, the HIV detection rate among men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kazakhstan grew by 5.5 times between 2009 to 2016, while in other populations this indicator remained stable or decreased.
The HIV epidemic in Kazakhstan is currently in a concentrated stage, spreading mainly among key populations and those most vulnerable to HIV, such MSM, people who inject drugs (PWID), sex workers, and prisoners. The sharpest growth in HIV cases is registered among MSM.
Comparing the data on HIV detection among MSM in Kazakhstan, one of the biggest countries in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, with the data on HIV prevalence among MSM in the rest of the region (5.7% in Belarus, 6.6% in Kyrgyzstan and 25.1% in Tbilisi, Georgia), we can see that there is a correlation: growth in the number of new infections leads to the increased HIV prevalence (i.e. growth in the total number of people living with HIV).
Thus, there is no doubt about the fact that the HIV epidemic among gay men and other MSM continues growing in EECA.
HIV epidemic among MSM is a challenge for LGBT and HIV organizations in the countries of the region. The last data from Kazakhstan is yet another confirmation that EECA needs HIV services tailored for the needs of gay men and other MSM, and that we need commitment from governments to tackle the problem.