209508 HIV prevention in Ghana: The need to include MSM as a sub population

Tuesday, November 10, 2009: 9:15 AM

Anthony Sallar, PhD, MPH, MBA , College of Public Health Sciences and Professions, Ohio University, Athens, OH

Since its inception in the 1980s, HIV has continued to have a tremendous effect in the world. Nowhere is this felt more than in sub-Saharan Africa where the devastating tremendous impact has not only been on morbidity and mortality, but also on family structure, social organizations, and economics.

There have been suggestions that homosexuality is underreported because it is highly stigmatized. Studies have shown that in some communities HIV prevalence is under 0.2% for the general population but much higher among homosexuals. Less than 1 in 20 MSM get HIV care and services they need in some communities..

In Ghana homosexuality is criminalized by Criminal Code 1960, Chapter 6, Sexual Offences, Article 105. Nevertheless, there have been news reports in the Ghanaian media about increased MSM activity in bars and club houses.

Adequate research has been conducted on other sub populations in Ghana and elsewhere and concrete steps have been taken to reach them in HIV prevention. However, not much has been done on men who have sex with men (MSM).

This study main objectives were to determine from MSM what were the challenges of being MSM with regard to HIV prevention, stigma and discrimination and survival strategy. Three focus group and ten depth interviews were held in the urban and semi urban areas. The MSM were recruited via snowball sampling. Respondents discussed their challenges, coping mechanisms in the face of these challenges and inability to push gar y rights movements as it is practiced in the west.

Learning Objectives:
Decribe HIV epidemiology in Ghana which is basically heterosexual Recognize that MSM have not been offically recognized as a sub population for HIV intervention measures Discuss the challenges faced by MSM in Ghana and elsewhere in teh African continent Explain why others believe that homophobia may be indirecting contributing to the HIV epidemic in Africa

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD and have conducted a lot of research in HIV...epidemiology amd prevention
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

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