OAKLAND, Calif., June 26, 2018 — Over a decade after The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) was founded, the organization has changed its name to MPact: Global Action for Gay Men’s Health and Rights. The Oakland-based organization was originally created to bring the unique challenges of men who have sex with men back into global conversations around HIV, but has gradually expanded their work over the years.
The name change is representative of global shifts in the HIV and international development landscapes to larger issues of sexual and reproductive health and human rights, including the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) people. MPact says their focus on men who have sex with men has not changed, but rather their strategies for addressing this community’s unique issues has fundamentally shifted over the years as attitudes towards LGBT people have as well.
“To address the escalating incidence of HIV, we must reframe our approach using sexual health and rights as our guiding principles. This means facing the root causes of health disparities head-on,” said Co-Founder and Executive Director George Ayala. “For gay and bisexual men, this includes decriminalizing homosexuality, ending homophobic violence, and combatting stigma and discrimination. It also means redressing economic disparities, challenging gender inequities, and confronting racism – each of which undermines the human rights of gay and bisexual men.”
The agency says their new name better reflects the mission and goal of the organization – to impact the lives of gay and bisexual men around the world. It also signals the need for unapologetically bolder, more forward-thinking solutions to the sexual health and rights needs of gay and bisexual men – solutions that will get us more quickly to the end of AIDS. This July 22nd, MPact will host a pre-meeting ahead of the 2018 International AIDS Conference in Amsterdam titled “Out With It” which focuses on supporting twelve teams of youth-led innovative solutions to the sexual health and rights of gay and bisexual men.