Entitled “Gay in Hanoi – highly risky behavior and barrier to HIV prevention,” the project will be carried out with the modest funding of $15,000, provided by the AIDS Research Foundation. It is expected that the project will research homosexual behavior and its relationship to the spread of HIV/AIDS.
VietNamNet Bridge – The city government has permitted the Centre for STDs/HIV/AIDS Prevention Centre to implement a project that focuses on homosexual men in Hanoi.
Within seven months, this project will study the needs and barriers to HIV/AIDS prevention among male prostitutes in Hanoi to find out which measures can reduce the spread of HIV.
There are no statistics on the number of male prostitutes in Hanoi. According to the latest report of the Hanoi Department of Labour, War Invalids and Social Affairs, by the end of March 2009 the city had 1975 female prostitutes and 710 suspected prostitutes.
The department’s director Nguyen Dinh Duc said that prostitution is now hidden by services like female karaoke staff, massage centres and inns.
The number of male prostitutes may be less than their female counterparts and they operate less visibly, making the situation is more complicated and the risk of unsafe sex very high.
“The education of male prostitutes is not low generally and their income is moderately fair. Most come to Hanoi from other provinces and their time here is often not very long (less than 5 years),” noted Dr. Le Minh Giang from the Hanoi Medical University’s HIV/AIDS Research Centre.
This expert remarked that money is not the only motivation urging gays to become male prostitutes. Many get involved as a way to find sexual partners.
As these men are very vulnerable, Giang noted, one of the best way to assist male prostitutes is to see them as normal people with their own lives, not as disease-transmitting subjects.
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