Many of the world's leading experts on the health and human rights of men who have sex with men (MSM) will gather onTuesday, July 20 for a press briefing to sound the alarm on the worsening global AIDS crisis among MSM -- and the role that tragic human rights violations and ignorance play in the spread of the epidemic.

The Vienna press briefing takes place during AIDS 2010, the XVIII International AIDS Conference (IAC). Only two percent of the Conference's sessions explicitly address the stunningly disproportionate impact of HIV and AIDS among gay men.

"This is shocking at a time when MSM are 19 times more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population in low- and middle-income countries, and when only one in five has access to the HIV prevention, care and treatment services they urgently need," said George Ayala, Executive Officer of the Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF).

Speakers will include Elly Katabira (President-Elect of the International AIDS Society [IAS]), Stephen Lewis (Co-Director of AIDS-Free World); George Ayala (Executive Officer of the MSMGF); Gift Trapence (Director of the Centre for the Development of People, Malawi [CEDEP]);Joel Nana (Executive Director of the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights [AMSHeR]); Robert Carr (Director of Advocacy and Policy for the International Council of AIDS Service Organizations [ICASO]); and prominent Moroccan AIDS activist Othman Mellouk.

Entitled "Be Heard: Elevating Issues Concerning MSM, HIV and Human Rights," the press briefing will take place from 1PM to 2PM at IAC Press Conference Room 1. To attend the press briefing, please RSVP to the contacts listed below.

Presentations will include key findings from BE HEARD, a day-long, July 17 conference event to comprehensively address soaring global rates of HIV among MSM. BE HEARD is the largest event of its kind, with over 600 attendees from more than 100 countries. The program will highlight a wide array of the most pressing health and human rights issues facing sexual minorities today, including the criminalization of homosexuality, new biomedical approaches to HIV prevention, and the spread of HIV among MSM in low- and middle-income countries. Media registration is also available for the BE HEARD conference by contacting the representatives listed below.