Reducing vulnerability and risk among men who have sex with men in Maputo
D. da Silva1, M. Benedetti2, D. Joseph3, V. Rufino3, R. Cau3, S. Simoes1, D. Nanja4
1LAMBDA, Maputo, Mozambique, 2Pathfinder International, Maputo, Mozambique, 3Population Services International, Mozambique, Maputo, Mozambique, 4UNFPA, Maputo, Mozambique
Issues: MSM in Mozambique are not included in the national HIV prevention strategy though an estimated 5% of incident infections occur among MSM. Formative research was conducted in 2009 to better understand HIV risk behaviors among MSM in Maputo. The study showed a need for targeted information and education, MSM-friendly health and HIV testing services, and improved access to water-based lubricants.
Description: Fifteen MSM peer educators were trained in Maputo to provide targeted HIV prevention education, including information on HIV risk during anal and oral sex, as the formative research showed low perceived risk if vaginal fluids were not involved. PSI and Pathfinder conducted capacity building trainings for LAMBDA to supervise the peer educators and to distribute packages of water-based lubricants, condoms and IEC materials targeted to MSM.
Lessons Learned: Although MSM had high knowledge about HIV prevention, risk perception remained low because of heterosexual-centric HIV prevention messages. Targeting interventions to MSM populations is critical to risk reduction. Peer educators are well received indicating high demand for services, information and products. At MSM-events men take lubricants but not condoms, indicating the need for a new approach to encourage condom use and ensure that they are used together.
Next steps: Health-workers will be trained to provide MSM-friendly services; peer educators and LAMBDA will provide referrals to these MSM-friendly services. LAMBDA will expand their work in Maputo to two other urban cities in Mozambique.