News & events


17 November 2017

‘Men who have sex with men shamed into risky behaviour’

Men who have sex with men suffer from poor mental health, which can lead to them engaging in high-risk behaviour.

Ahead of World Aids Day a recent study found that men who have sex with men (MSM) face significant stigmatisation, which leads them to engage in high-risk behaviour.

The study, conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa and Namibia, found that poor mental health and stress caused by high levels of stigma lead the group to engage in behaviour that can lead to contracting HIV.

Heidi van Rooyen, executive director HSRC, explained how the group faces ridicule, leading them to engage in acts such as having unprotected sex, having multiple sexual partners and substance abuse.

“This group is left on the margins and pushing people who are different away has some real consequences. The different kinds of stress because of marginalised positions leads to behaviour such as hiding things or acting straight, which heightens the HIV risk,” she said.

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