Men who have sex with men
Men who have sex with men (MSM), or males who have sex with males, is an umbrella term used mainly by medical practitioners and clinical researchers to refer to the group of people statistically more likely to be at risk of contracting the HIV/AIDS virus.
While having a just reason for existence, specifically to allow more AIDS/HIV-related help reach those who need it, both versions of the phrase can be problematic:
|The generalization of the term MSM has implications for studying HIV risks as well. This behavior-oriented term has effectively masked the sexual identity of men who engage in same-sex behavior, potentially impairing long-term goals of self-actualization and social justice. Because it is a reductionist term, it can also have the unintended effect of causing those outside the community of MSM to view those men as “issues” rather than as human beings whose life choices include a set of behaviors.|
Another highly problematic aspect of the term is that trans women are often placed in this group if they have ever had a male or designated male at birth partner, an act which classifies them "as men" despite the fact that they are not. Fortunately, health organizations have begun to change policies and remove trans women from this grouping.
- Elevated Risk for HIV Infection among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Low- and Middle-Income Countries 2000–2006: A Systematic Review. Baral S, Sifakis F, Cleghorn F, Beyrer C. (2007). PLoS Med 4(12): e339. doi: 10.1371/journal.pmed.0040339
- The trouble with MSM. Shivananda Khan, Omar A Khan. American Journal of Public Health. 2006. 96(5). DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.084665
- http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/pdf/risk_transgender.pdf HIV Among Transgender People in the US
- http://apps.who.int/iris/bitstream/10665/128049/1/WHO_HIV_2014.8_eng.pdf Consolidated guidelines on HIV prevention, diagnosis, treatment and care for key populations