Thursday, November 13, 2008

"I'm not a gay person. I just do this for pleasure, like a lot of men."

PHNOM PENH, 11 November 2008 (PlusNews) - At the end of each day, Lux, a construction worker in the Cambodian capital, Phnom Penh, goes home for supper with his wife and young children. But at the weekend he leads a different life, cruising the city's most notorious male brothels, where he regularly has group sex with men while watching pornographic videos.

"I think it's pretty common. A lot of men I know do this in secret without their wives knowing," he told IRIN/PlusNews. When asked about using condoms during sex, he said, "Sometimes, but never with my wife."

After police cracked down on the brothels he visited, Lux turned to the streets, taking nightly strolls through Hun Sen Park, where he pays transsexuals for sex at least once a month.

"Sometimes I get regular women, and sometimes I hire lady-boys," he said. He has never been tested for HIV and does not think it an issue, given Cambodia's falling HIV rate.

HIV prevalence dropped to just 0.9 percent in 2006 from 3.7 percent in 1997. But among men who have sex with men (MSMs), the rate remained an uncomfortably high 5.1 percent nationally, and 8.7 percent in Phnom Penh in 2006, the most recent year for which UNAIDS data is available.

Advocacy groups warn that the lack of outreach programmes to educate MSM about HIV risks could undo the progress that Cambodia as a whole has achieved.

Read the rest on Real Cambodia, Khmer News.

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