Prevention of HIV in the MSM, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community in Fiji.

Published: July 11, 2004

Prevention of HIV in the MSM, Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender community in Fiji.

Social isolation is a situation common to many people who experience same sex attractions. This isolation is often fueled by a sense of insecurity about the reaction of others, such as the church community or family members, to discovery. Many lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender identifying young people will go to great lengths to avoid others finding out their sexual orientation. This process of "passing" as heterosexuals can promote feelings of self-hate, depression and suicide. As a consequence, risk factors and behaviour are dramatically effected across the board, from the increased drug and alcohol use, to higher rates of homelessness and sex work, depression and suicide. All of these factors profile a possible and real increase in the exposure to HIV and STI transmission. A recent survey released in Fiji by the Aids Task Force says that there is a huge increase in the number of men who are turning bisexual. The report goes on to say that majority of these men won’t identify as bisexual but as heterosexual. This findings says also being echoed by the finding of the First ever Needs Analysis Survey conducted by the Sexual Minorities Project. This confusion is due to the lack of understanding of the terms "sexuality" or they are in denial. In relation to this the SM Project is embarking on another project to "Affirm Sexual Diversity" in the wider community so that people could be more understanding of LGBT people and making them gender sensitive. In Fiji, anecdotal evidence suggests that many men who identify as heterosexual engage in homosexual activities without the use of condoms, but these same men tend to deny any homosexual contact. In fact, many men who identify as gay or overtly appear as MSM, have faced discrimination through law, lack of employment opportunities and being victims of violent physical and sexual assaults. Similarly society tends to blame man who have sex with other men for the spread of HIV.

-Meeting abstract is available at link below-

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