Public health facilities are ill-equipped to meet the needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), missing an opportunity to reduce HIV transmission, say researchers behind a new study.
The study is the first ever Southern African study looking at HIV prevention needs of male-male partnerships. The research was conducted by the Human Sciences Research Council (HSRC) in South Africa and in Namibia in partnership with the Gay and Lesbian Network in KZN and Positive Vibes in Namibia.
Respondents in the study related experiences which drove them to hide their identity or seek services elsewhere. Stigma experienced by MSM when accessing public health-care facilities may take the form of explicit discrimination, or implicit micro-aggressions.
Interviews with 27 MSM couples (16 in Namibia and 11 in South Africa), interviewed simultaneously but separately to maintain the integrity of their responses, shows clearly how negative experiences, and the fear repeating them, inhibits MSM from exercising their right to access available services intended to reduce the transmission of HIV.
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