Outlook, identity and risks in lives of men who have sex with men in Cambodia

Published: August 1, 2008

Outlook, identity and risks in lives of men who have sex with men in Cambodia and how media can contribute to an enabling environment and risk reduction

Issues: UNAIDS (1998, 2000) claims that sex between men occurs in most societies, but often is stigmatised. KHANA’s (2003) regional consultation noted, “MSM behaviour is not usually linked to identity, and is underground and unmarked”. In Cambodia, Girault et al. (2000) noted that sex between men frequently involves anal intercourse, condom use was low, and more than half of men in the study were bisexual. NAA’s Situational Analyses and NCHAD STI survey (2005) found: 5.1% HIV prevalence among MSM, five times higher than general population’s; over 50% had 2-5 partners in last month, and consistent condom use was low.

Description: The BBC World Service Trust undertook formative research in partnership with MSM organisations and peer educators:

• To understand the men’s life, outlook 
• To understand misconceptions, risky behaviors 
• To understand how sexual preferences shaped identity, stigma and discrimination.

Lessons learned: 

Stigma
• All informants had experienced stigmatizations from various groups of people in many forms.
Disclosure
• Participants were careful about revealing their MSM status, only telling close, trusted friends who were MSM.
Love and Sex
• The majority felt that there was a relationship between love and sex; others asserted that love was different from sex, because love could be heart to heart without sex.
Condom Use
• Condom use was very low even with knowledge about condom benefits.

Next steps: Mass media – include MSM characters into social dramas to increase awareness, understanding of MSM’s lives, and to reduce stigma and secrecy.

Niche media 
a) distribute via MSM organisations: informative, entertaining film and music as part of social and outreach activities
b) distribute to sex cafes and other MSM clubs – short videos in music video style and tone- pleasure and fun-clear information about risks of anal sex, how to properly use a condom, using very attractive men.

-Abstract can be found at link below-

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