Published on IPS, by Christi van der Westhuizen, Aug 18, 2009.
CAPE TOWN, Aug 18 (IPS) – A study on men having sex with men (MSM) in Malawi shows that, as elsewhere in the developing world, this vulnerable group is at greater risk of contracting HIV and AIDS than the general population. Moreover, their risk status is exacerbated as governments fail to target them for health services or information to stem HIV transmission.
The study was presented at the human rights conference of the recent World Outgames, held in the Danish capital from Jul. 25 to Aug. 1. At the same session it transpired that MSM in developing countries are on average 19 times more likely to be HIV positive than the general population.
In Kenya, in East Africa, 38 percent of MSM are HIV positive, compared to six percent of the general population, according to data provided by the AIDS Fund of Denmark. In the West African country of Senegal, some 22 percent of MSM are HIV positive compared to less than two percent of the general population …
… The study found that only 1.5 percent has ever been told by a health professional that they are HIV positive while 77 percent had never been asked by a health professional to undergo an HIV test. Only 10 percent had ever disclosed to a health professional that they have sex with men.
More of the respondents thought that anal sex between a man and a woman could transmit HIV (96 percent) than between a man and a man (89 percent). Therefore, a high number of respondents also did not know that HIV can spread via anal sex.
Almost half of the respondents had never accessed information on how to prevent HIV transmission during sex with a man. Some 18 percent of the respondents were “afraid to seek health services” while 3.5 percent had been denied health care.
In all, 35 percent always used a condom during casual sex with men; 22 percent sometimes; and 10 percent never. During casual sex with women, 26 percent always used a condom; 12.5 percent sometimes; five percent rarely; and two percent never.
During sex with a female partner or wife, about 20 percent always used a condom; 25.5 percent sometimes; 7.5 percent rarely and 5.5 percent never. END/2009. (full text).
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