An assessment of stigma and human right violations among men who have sex with men in Abuja, Nigeria

Susanne Strömdahl, Abimbola Onigbanjo Williams, Bede Eziefule, Godwin Emmanuel, Stella Iwuagwu, Oliver Anene, Ifeanyi Orazulike, Chris Beyrer, Stefan Baral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Background: There have been several barriers in effectively engaging men who have sex with men for STI/HIV prevention and treatment programming in Nigeria including social stigma, policies, and laws criminalizing same-sex practices. The objective of this study was to describe the human rights context for MSM in Abuja and characterize factors associated with having had a genital ulcer disease in the previous 12 months, a health outcome associated with increased risk of HIV acquisition and transmission. Methods: A convenience sample of 297 men reporting ever having had anal intercourse with another man participated in the study in 2008. A structured survey instrument including sexual risk behaviour for STI/HIV, disclosure of sexual orientation, perceived and enacted human rights violations were performed. Descriptive and inferential data analyses were conducted using Stata11 software. Results: 36% reported having been discriminated due to sexual orientation and 17% reported being afraid to walk the streets of their community. Enacted rights violations included 41% having been blackmailed, 36% been beaten, 13% been denied housing, and 11% been jailed due to sexual orientation. Having been blackmailed due to sexual orientation (aOR 3.40, 95%CI: 1.35-8.56) was significantly associated with reporting having had a genital ulcer in the last 12 months. Having been beaten due to sexual orientation (aOR 2.36, 95%CI:0.96-5.82) was moderately significantly associated with reporting having had a genital ulcer in the last 12 months. Conclusions: High levels of experienced stigma, discrimination and human rights violations among MSM in Abuja was reported, constituting structural risks that are linked to sexual risk behaviour for STI/HIV. Given data on the high prevalence and incidence of HIV among MSM in Abuja, these findings reinforce the need for structural interventions to mediate access to STI/HIV prevention and treatment services.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number7
JournalBMC International Health and Human Rights
Volume19
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 5 2019

Keywords

  • HIV
  • Human rights violations
  • Men who have sex with men
  • STI
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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