Prevention Of HIV/AIDS Among Sexual Minorities
In all countries, HIV remains to this day an epidemic. Certain populations are statistically more at risk than others to contract the disease. These include men who have sex with men, female sex workers, transgender people, and users of injectable drugs.
Not only are these populations at higher risk of contracting HIV/AIDS, but they also face discrimination and social stigma. Not only is this painful, and can contribute to the reasons they have HIV in the first place (such as in the case of injectable drug abuse), but it also can prevent them from getting the healthcare and treatment they need and deserve.
Lawmakers are working towards change to make support for these communities more accessible. Civil rights are deeply connected with the HIV epidemic in these special populations for several reasons.
Changes that could help stop the spread of HIV/AIDS in these special populations include:
- Decriminalizing sexual intercourse between two men, which is still technically illegal in many places, even within the United States. Marriage between two men is also still illegal in many areas. This makes it more difficult for men having sex with men to get proper treatment since they fear legal repercussions.
- Better access for these communities to immunizations and medications that can prevent or lower the risk of STDs, such as hepatitis vaccinations and TRUVADA.
- Access to counseling for drug addiction, grief management, and more could also help stop the spread of sexually transmitted diseases in these special populations.
- Better support for men who have been sexually abused, especially by other men. There is still a great deal of shame surrounding sexual abuse issues, and this may be especially true for men who have been victimized.
- Public awareness of the problem and a show of public support would help prevent and treat these diseases. Reducing stigma in all areas would make it easier and more likely for special populations to access prevention and treatment.
- Better sex education in schools and at home. Parents and teachers need to address the risks associated with these special populations and provide prevention and care options.
- Greater availability of testing and treatment centers, like Planned Parenthood. These are important not only for the special populations but for all members of the community.