- In its “Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations” , the WHO strongly recommended that MSM (men that have sex with men) consider taking anti-retroviral treatment besides using condoms since the rates of infection among MSM remain high.
- Activists working on gay and transgender rights feel that this is not well-thought out as the priority should be on women and children who are at a greater risk and in need of intervention.
- The guidelines were issued in the lead-up to the International AIDS Conference in Melbourne, Australia, where WHO is expected to call on governments to re-energise and strengthen HIV programmes.
- In India, where MSM is relatively low, and already 7,77,485 persons were receiving ART, the MSMs would first need to be identified.
- Currently, ART is being given to those with CD4 cell counts below 350 (CD4 cells or T-cells are the cells that send signals to activate your body’s immune response when they detect viruses or bacteria) with plans to include those with CD4 counts below 500.
- Any decision on preventive ART would have to take into account the numbers involved and identifying those who need it.