Scaling up HIV interventions among MSM in Togo
K. Koumagnanou1, S. Kassegne2, B. Clapham3, Men who Have Sex with Men (MSM)
1Population Services International/Togo, Research, Monitoring & Evaluation, Lome, Togo, 2Population Services International, Research & Metrics, Cotonou, Benin, 3Population Services International/Togo, Communication Department, Lome, Togo
Issues: Men who have sex with men (MSM) are often ignored or excluded from HIV prevention programs in Africa because of cultural and social barriers. In Togo, an exploratory study conducted in 2006 revealed the existence of MSM community. Due to the results of the study, a pilot program vas launched in Lome in 2007. The project is progressively scaling up from Lome to three semi-urban cities: Kpalime, Aneho and Kara.
Description: The main programmatic activities include providing information about HIV and condom use through interpersonal communication discussion group and special events implemented by peer educators. Mobile VCT services were promoted through peer educators and made available at special events. In 2008, 2681 MSM were reached by peer educators. In 2009, this number increased to 4907. From April to December 2009, 73 MSM was tested.
Lessons learned: The majority of MSM in Togo have access to viable information concerning HIV transmission, condoms, lubricant, voluntary counselling and testing. Promotional activities that address psychosocial determinants of condom use and VCT are needed in order to increase the effectiveness of PSI´s intervention with MSM in Togo.
Next steps: Qualitative studies should be conducted to collect data that can be used to develop messages that influence determinants of condom use and VCT. Quantitative study should also be conducted to monitor and evaluate changes in determinants of condom and VCT use due to programmatic activities.