Men who have sex with men inadequately addressed in African AIDS National Strategic Plans

Published: December 20, 2012

 

Abstract

Through an analysis of AIDS National Strategic Plans (NSPs), this study investigated the responses of African governments to the HIV epidemics faced by men who have sex with men (MSM). NSPs from 46 African countries were systematically analysed, with attention focused on (1) the representation of MSM and their HIV risk, (2) the inclusion of epidemiologic information on the HIV epidemic among MSM and (3) government-led interventions addressing MSM. Out of 46 NSPs, 34 mentioned MSM. While two-thirds of these NSPs acknowledged the vulnerability of MSM to HIV infection, fewer than half acknowledged the role of stigma or criminalisation. Four NSPs showed estimated HIV prevalence among MSM, and one included incidence. Two-thirds of the NSPs proposed government-led HIV interventions that address MSM. Those that did plan to intervene planned to do so through policy interventions, social interventions, HIV-prevention interventions, HIV-treatment interventions and monitoring activities. Overall, the governments of the countries included in the study exhibited little knowledge of HIV disease dynamics among MSM and little knowledge of the social dynamics behind MSM’s HIV risk. Concerted action is needed to integrate MSM into NSPs and governmental health policies in a way that acknowledges this population and its specific HIV/AIDS-related needs.

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