Introduction Evidence has shown that there are increasing rates of new HIV and other STI infections occurring among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) in Nigeria, with the prevalence 3 times higher than the general population as reported by the 2011 National Integrated Bio Behavioral Surveillance Survey. The poor state of health care and support services hinders our effort to control the high rates of these new infections among MSM.
Methods The Initiative for Improved Male Health (IMH-Initiative) works to provide a safe space for young MSM living with HIV to access comprehensive palliative care and support, as well as referrals for other services through drama and dance competitions. An STI assessment was conducted in IMH-Initiative’s Community Center in Calabar, for gay men and other MSM. An STI history was conducted for all clients who visited the community clinic specifically for HCT and STI counselling and referrals within a 5 month period, and their data were collated.
Results 61 MSM were diagnosed, and reported the following in the last 6 months. 49 where living with HIV. 46 had previous histories of untreated anal warts. 20 had previous histories of treated Gonorrhea by self medication and herbs. 21 had untreated boils and rashes around the genitals. 10 clients where living with HIV, and reported untreated penile and rectal gonorrhoea. All clients indicated that there were not comfortable discussing STI infections with staff of public hospitals.
Conclusion It is evident that a reasonable number of STI infections among MSM are not completely treated. This thereby increases the individual’s risk of HIV infection, and cripples HIV prevention programming in Nigeria. HIV programmes targeting MSM must incorporate STI syndromic management, so as to increase access to non-stigmatised diagnosis and treatment of STIs. Also, access to STI drugs for clients cannot be overemphasised.
- HCT services
- more information
- trained officers
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