There is increasing attention to the health of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgendered, and Intersex (LGBTI) youth, although to date there is little evidence on their health issues and experiences around the world. What we do know tells us that LGBTI youth experience an elevated risk of negative sexual and mental health outcomes and legal and structural barriers, especially in countries that openly and legally discriminate against “homosexual behavior” and that marginalize and criminalize LGBTI youth.

Besides young men who have sex with men (YMSM), very little is known about the health of other LGBTI youth.

YMSM are present in every country in the world, yet homophobia—and related stigma, denial, discrimination, violence, and criminalization—often prevent these young men from receiving critical HIV prevention and treatment information, services, and support.  As a result, many YMSM are not equipped to protect themselves from becoming infected with HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. Additional risk factors resulting from the isolation often experienced by YMSM include homelessness, substance abuse, and having multiple partners.

Also, the biological risk of HIV transmission is five times greater through anal intercourse than vaginal intercourse.  For these reasons, MSM are on average 19 times more likely to be HIV-positive than the general population.  The young age at which MSM often initiate sexual activity, and the fact that many who become HIV-infected do not learn of their status until late in the course of infection, highlights the urgency of addressing the needs of YMSM.

More research is needed to understand the health needs of other young LGBTI populations.


Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Youth in the Global South

This Advocates for Youth brief overviews the issues that LGBT youth face across a broad range of contexts across the globe, along with the systems at the individual, interpersonal, and structural levels that reinforce harms like violence and stigma. (2016)

LGBT Vision for Action: Promoting and Supporting the Inclusion of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Individuals

This Vision outlines the principles and steps that USAID will follow, in partnership with a wide array of allies and champions, to protect human rights and empower LGBT persons, increase the capacity of LGBT civil society organizations’, and integrate and elevate attention to LGBT issues in our work, resulting in more transformative development results. (n.d.)

MAAYGO AND ADVOCATES FOR YOUTH: Advancing the Sexual and Reproductive Health and Rights of LGBT-Youth in Kisumu County, Kenya

This brief details the work of Advocates for Youth and Men Against AIDS Youth Group (MAAYGO) in Kenya to advance the SRH rights for LGBT youth. (No Date)

HIV and Young Men Who Have Sex with Men

This technical brief by the WHO discusses the HIV epidemic among young men who have sex with men globally. It addresses the points of vulnerability for this population, legal and policy constraints, barriers to accessing services, and considerations for programs and service delivery (2015).


Adolescents Under the Radar in the Asia-Pacific AIDS Response

This report highlights the HIV epidemic in the Asia and Pacific region among young people, including young men who have sex with men and transgendered youth. It includes a discussion of high-impact interventions, critical enablers of success, and recommendations for moving forward (2015).


MSMGF: Global Forum on MSM & HIV

The mission of the MSMGF is to advocate for equitable access to effective HIV prevention, care, and treatment services tailored to the needs of gay men and other MSM, while promoting their health and human rights worldwide.


Lancet Special Issue on HIV in Men who have Sex with Men (MSM)

This brief outlines the global epidemic of HIV risk for MSM globally, and comments on the comprehensive clinical approaches for care, success and challenges to prevention efforts, including a section on MSM in Africa (2012).


Consultation on Strategic Information and HIV Prevention among Most-at-Risk Adolescents

The Consultation on Strategic Information and HIV Prevention among Most-at-Risk Adolescents (MARA) focused on experiences in countries where HIV infection is concentrated among men who have sex with men (MSM), injecting drug users (IDUs), and those who sell sex. The meeting facilitated the exchange of information across regions on country-level data collection regarding MARA; identified ways to use strategic information to improve HIV prevention among MARA; and suggested ways to build support for MARA programming among decision-makers (2009).