People Living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA) in Sub-Saharan Africa face stigma and discrimination including significant health challenges. Social, religious and cultural contexts most often contribute to various forms of stigma and discrimination among PLHWA. They pose extra challenges for HIV-infected Men having Sex with Men (MSM) by hindering early interventions among these groups. Although the MSM population affected with HIV are not considered to be a high HIV infection risk group in Sub-Saharan Africa, recent studies have revealed the widespread existence of MSM groups across the region and high rates of HIV infection and HIV risk behaviour among MSM population.
This paper provides a systematic literature review about the stigma and discrimination faced by the MSM population in Sub-Saharan Africa. The literature review was conducted through the systematic search of several online databases including Pub Med, Medline and Google.com.
The review found that there have been few strategic interventions that specifically address stigma and discrimination among MSM population despite their high HIV positive serostatus. Men having sex with Men are illegal in 31 Sub-Saharan African countries, potentially attracting the death penalty in four. There has been a disproportionately small amount of governmental funding allocated for targeted interventions among these populations in the region. The MSM populations usually have no access to relevant HIV/AIDS information and services, and many countries have not begun to recognise or address the needs of these men in the context of national HIV/AIDS prevention and control programmes.
We propose that the national governments may consider prioritising context-specific and culturally appropriate strategies and allocate budgets in their National AIDS Policies to address stigma & discrimination faced by the MSM population and protect their rights in Sub-Saharan Africa.
- Sub-Saharan Africa