Defending the sexual health rights of the MSM/WSW in Kisumu, Kenya

Published: August 1, 2008

Defending the sexual health rights of the MSM/WSW in Kisumu, Kenya

Issues: Spread of HIV/AIDS amongst MSM/WSW. The occurrence of sex between men and between women in Kenya has usually been ignored or denied by public opinion, government, and the international community. The intolerance and stigma associated to being gay or lesbian has led many individuals to lead a double life due to the pressure to conform to societal norms, particularly in the project target region of Kisumu in Nyanza province, Kenya. This has led to neglect of the spread of HIV/AIDS among men who have sex with men (MSM) and women who have sex with women (WSW). The fact that sexual identity and behavior are not the same implies that there is a significant “bridge” of HIV transmission between MSM/WSW and the general population.

Description: Methodology/Activities.
• Questionnaires.
• Counseling Sessions.
• Pamphlets and Posters.
The information derived from the questionnaires received from a total of 200 male and 210 female respondents in the ongoing project work (Year 2007) indicates a need to pressurize for a health policy framework on the part of our health authorities to address the specific sexual health needs of MSM and WSW. Our society is yet to come to terms that homosexuals are part and parcel of our society. The Ministry of health and the National AIDS Control Council are aware that there is need to avail health information materials to target the LGBT community but have instead chosen to ignore these needs. A high percentage of LGBT people shy away from seeking health services out of fear of being exposed as homosexuals.

Lessons learned: HIV/AIDS prevalence rate amongst MSM/WSW is rising at an alarming rate owing to lack of appropriate health policies targeting this group.

Next steps:
1. HBCT services for MSM/WSW.
2. HIV/AIDS treatment program.

-Abstract available at link below-

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