Stigma and Discrimination Experiences of HIV-positive Men Who Have Sex with Men in Cape Town, South Africa

Human Sciences Research Council of South Africa, Social Aspects of HIV/AIDS and Health, Cape Town, South Africa.
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 07/2008; 20(9):1105-10. DOI: 10.1080/09540120701842720
Source: PubMed


Since the primary mode of HIV transmission in sub-Saharan Africa is heterosexual, research focusing on the sexual behaviour of men who have sex with men (MSM) is scant. Currently it is unknown how many people living with HIV in South Africa are MSM and there is even less known about the stigmatisation and discrimination of HIV-positive MSM. The current study examined the stigma and discrimination experiences of MSM living with HIV/AIDS in South Africa. Anonymous venue-based surveys were collected from 92 HIV-positive MSM and 330 HIV-positive men who only reported sex with women (MSW). Internalised stigma was high among all HIV-positive men who took part in the survey, with 56% of men reporting that they concealed their HIV status from others. HIV-positive MSM reported experiencing greater social isolation and discrimination resulting from being HIV-positive, including loss of housing or employment due to their HIV status, however these differences were not significant. Mental health interventions, as well as structural changes for protection against discrimination, are needed for HIV-positive South African MSM.

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Available from: Allanise Cloete, Mar 03, 2014
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    • "The low rate of HIV disclosure might be due to the fear of negative consequences of disclosure (Parsons et al. 2004; Gorbach et al. 2004; Zhou et al. 2013). Among the negative consequences , stigma or discrimination was the most frequent mentioned in previous studies of HIV disclosure (Carr and Gramling 2004; Parker and Aggleton 2003; Cloete et al. 2008). HIV disclosure sometimes indeed lead to rejection, isolation, loss of intimacy (Derlega et al. 2002; Parsons et al. 2004), which can cause negative feelings such as fear and isolation in individuals (Li et al. 2007). "
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    ABSTRACT: This study addressed the issue of disclosing HIV status and sexual orientation, and explored the consequences of such disclosures among HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in China. In-depth individual interviews were conducted with 37 HIV-positive MSM. Of these participants, 3 (8.1 %) disclosed neither their HIV status nor their sexual orientation to anyone; 24 (64.9 %) voluntarily disclosed both their HIV-positive status and their sexual orientation; 7 (18.9 %) voluntarily disclosed their HIV status only, and 3 (8.1 %) involuntarily disclosed their HIV status and sexual orientation. Parents, partners, siblings and close friends were the most common disclosure targets. HIV-positive MSM were less likely to disclose their sexual orientation than their HIV status. The positive consequences of disclosure included receiving support, acquiring family care, reducing stress, improving mood and developing more positive values and beliefs. The negative consequences included the participants' perception of rejection and stigma toward themselves and their families. However, the stigma mainly comes from "outsiders" rather than family members and close friends. We did not find any differences with respect to consequences between participants who disclosed their HIV status only and those who disclosed both their HIV status and sexual orientation. In conclusion, partners, siblings and friends were main disclosure targets, and HIV positive MSM preferred to disclose their HIV serostatus than their sexual orientation. Voluntarily disclosing one's HIV status to significant others resulted in more positive consequences than negative consequences. Theses results were informative for developing mental health and coping interventions.
    Full-text · Article · May 2015 · Community Mental Health Journal
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    • "Indeed, we identified just one peer-reviewed article focusing on HIV-positive MSM in sub-Saharan Africa. Cloete et al. [12] conducted a survey on HIV-related stigma and discrimination among a convenience sample of both HIV-positive MSM and men who have sex with women in Cape Town, South Africa. The survey found that internalized HIV-related stigma was high among all participants. "
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    ABSTRACT: Introduction Despite the knowledge that men who have sex with men (MSM) are more likely to be infected with HIV across settings, there has been little investigation of the experiences of MSM who are living with HIV in sub-Saharan Africa. Using the framework of positive health, dignity and prevention, we explored the experiences and HIV prevention, care and treatment needs of MSM who are living with HIV in Swaziland. Methods We conducted 40 in-depth interviews with 20 HIV-positive MSM, 16 interviews with key informants and three focus groups with MSM community members. Qualitative analysis was iterative and included debriefing sessions with a study staff, a stakeholders’ workshop and coding for key themes using Atlas.ti. Results The predominant theme was the significant and multiple forms of stigma and discrimination faced by MSM living with HIV in this setting due to both their sexual identity and HIV status. Dual stigma led to selective disclosure or lack of disclosure of both identities, and consequently a lack of social support for care-seeking and medication adherence. Perceived and experienced stigma from healthcare settings, particularly around sexual identity, also led to delayed care-seeking, travel to more distant clinics and missed opportunities for appropriate services. Participants described experiences of violence and lack of police protection as well as mental health challenges. Key informants, however, reflected on their duty to provide non-discriminatory services to all Swazis regardless of personal beliefs. Conclusions Intersectionality provides a framework for understanding the experiences of dual stigma and discrimination faced by MSM living with HIV in Swaziland and highlights how programmes and policies should consider the specific needs of this population when designing HIV prevention, care and treatment services. In Swaziland, the health sector should consider providing specialized training for healthcare providers, distributing condoms and lubricants and engaging MSM as peer outreach workers or expert clients. Interventions to reduce stigma, discrimination and violence against MSM and people living with HIV are also needed for both healthcare workers and the general population. Finally, research on experiences and needs of MSM living with HIV globally can help inform comprehensive HIV services for this population.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2013 · Journal of the International AIDS Society
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    • "Few participants felt they were able to link strategies to prevent risk-taking behaviour with life issues, self worth and stigma. MSM may have higher rates of alcohol and drug intake [34], may feel they are not at risk of HIV or fear testing [35] and avoid services they perceive as anti-gay [36]–[38], and may avoid disclosing their sexual orientation in traditional VCT sessions [1]. While participants knew about the complex issues faced by high-risk MSM in their daily lives, very few described any alteration in their approach to standard risk-reduction planning. "
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    ABSTRACT: The role of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the African HIV epidemic is gaining recognition yet capacity to address the HIV prevention needs of this group is limited. HIV testing and counselling is not only a critical entry point for biomedical HIV prevention interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, rectal microbicides and early treatment initiation, but is also an opportunity for focused risk reduction counselling that can support individuals living in difficult circumstances. For prevention efforts to succeed, however, MSM need to access services and they will only do so if these are non-judgmental, informative, focused on their needs, and of clear benefit. This study aimed to understand Kenyan providers' attitudes towards and experiences with counselling MSM in a research clinic targeting this group for HIV prevention. We used in-depth interviews to explore values, attitudes and cognitive and social constructs of 13 counsellors and 3 clinicians providing services to MSM at this clinic. Service providers felt that despite their growing experience, more targeted training would have been helpful to improve their effectiveness in MSM-specific risk reduction counselling. They wanted greater familiarity with MSM in Kenya to better understand the root causes of MSM risk-taking (e.g., poverty, sex work, substance abuse, misconceptions about transmission, stigma, and sexual desire) and felt frustrated at the perceived intractability of some of their clients' issues. In addition, they identified training needs on how to question men about specific risk behaviours, improved strategies for negotiating risk reduction with counselling clients, and improved support supervision from senior counsellors. This paper describes the themes arising from these interviews and makes practical recommendations on training and support supervision systems for nascent MSM HIV prevention programmes in Africa.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2013 · PLoS ONE
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