249963 Homosexuality and HIV in Africa: How can Entertainment Education Communication be used to address stigma?

Wednesday, November 2, 2011: 9:24 AM

Anthony Sallar, PhD, MPH, MBA , Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Aurelie Somda Domegoure, MA , Department of Social and Public Health, Ohio University, Athens, OH
Introduction HIV transmission in sub Saharan Africa has been consistently reported to be heterosexual. The existence of Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM) has been denied and the epidemic among them ignored although homosexuality in the continent has been documented. Homosexuality is underreported because of stigma. Homophobia is said to be driving the epidemic in Africa because stigma and discrimination create barriers for HIV prevention and early treatment services.

Methods We conducted searches in journals, newspapers, UNAIDS and MSM web sites to read laws, abuse, and discrimination of MSM in Africa. We also reviewed literature on entertainment education (EE) and its successful use in addressing social, political, and health issues worldwide.

Results Limited research has been conducted among MSM in Africa. Fifty-five percent of African countries have laws against sex between men. Penalties range from fines, imprisonment, or death. Official harassments, state sponsored homophobia and threats against MSM have been documented. EE which derives from various theories can be disseminated through radio or TV. EE can bring behavior and social change by offering the audience an opportunity for social learning. EE has been effective worldwide and examples include Grey's Anatomy, ER, Philadelphia, Soul City, Eastenders, telenovela simplemente Maria. We discuss how EE can be used to reduce stigma against MSM in sub Saharan Africa.

Conclusion EE use can raise awareness and tolerance and promote action in the fight against HIV/AIDS epidemic and related stigmatization among Africa's MSM which can pave way for prevention and treatment among a vulnerable population.

Learning Areas:
Diversity and culture
Public health or related education
Public health or related laws, regulations, standards, or guidelines
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
Discuss the limited prevention of HIV among MSM and related studies because of stigma, homophobia and how MSM were disproportionately impacted by the epidemic. List countries which proscribe homosexuality in Africa and other parts of the world and the penalties arising from same sex acts as well as those which donít proscribe laws against the sexual orientation. Describe the specific ways or actions taken by some of the countries which officially sponsored harassment of MSM in some African countries Discuss the role of Entertainment Education in social change and how it can be used to reduce stigma in MSM in African countries.

Keywords: Homophobia, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD in Epidemiology and have taught in the discipline for more than 16 years. I do research, teaching and service in public health.
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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