The impact of social events to the LGBT community in HIV/AIDS prevention in Jamaica

Published: July 18, 2010

The impact of social events to the LGBT community in HIV/AIDS prevention in Jamaica

P. Morrison

The Muse Group/Red Door Events, St. Andrew, Jamaica

Issues: The Ministry of Health in Jamaica posits that approximately one in three men within the “Men who have Sex with Men”(MSM) community, are infected with the HIV virus. To combat this, the Ministry will have to come up with a comprehensive campaign targeted towards the MSM Community. They however, have several challenges facing them.

  1. It’s virtually impossible to get the MSM Community to congregate in one particular area
  2. Bareback as well as transactional sex is on the rise within the MSM communities
  3. Jamaica is considered a class segregated society, and as such, the LGBT represents a subset of the wider society. Because of such, the LGBT group, J-FLAG is not considered representative of the entire gay community.

Description: In June 2009, the Red Door events were conceptualized to provide a comfortable and relaxed setting for the LGBT Community (which includes MSMs). It was dubbed by its principals to host “Events with a Purpose”. As part of their mandate, they have had Peer Counsellors/Educators from the Ministry of Health present for distribution of literature related to HIV/AIDS and STIs

Lessons learned: It provides a setting for the discussion of HIV/AIDS and distribution of literature in a previously underserved, yet large community in Jamaica. The Ministry of Health (as well as other civil societies) would be able to get some primary data from across the varying demographics of not only the MSM communities, but also the other LGBT community also.

Next steps: Possible next steps for implementation, or recommendations
The Red Door concept is being refined to include further the communication of HIV/AIDS to the MSM community. It is embarking on campaigns to develop social and new media networks within Jamaica and the rest of the Caribbean.

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