Background: For men who have sex with men (MSM) across sub-Saharan Africa (SSA), disclosure of same-sex practices to family and healthcare workers (HCWs) can facilitate access to HIV prevention services and support, but can also lead to experiences of stigma. Methods: We performed mixed-effects regressions on pooled data from MSM in Cameroon, Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Lesotho, and eSwatini to assess associations between disclosure and sexual behavior stigma in healthcare contexts; we used logistic regressions to analyze country-specific data. Results: Compared to participants who had not disclosed to either family or HCWs, those who had disclosed only to family were more likely to have been gossiped about by HCWs (aOR = 1.70, CI = 1.18, 2.45); the association between having disclosed to family and having felt mistreated in a health center approached, but did not achieve, statistical significance (aOR = 1.56, CI = 0.94, 2.59). Those who had disclosed only to HCWs were more likely to have feared to seek health services (aOR = 1.60, CI = 1.14, 2.25), avoided health services (aOR = 1.74, CI = 1.22, 2.50), and felt mistreated in a health center (aOR = 2.62, CI = 1.43, 4.81). Those who had disclosed to both were more likely to have feared to seek health services (aOR = 1.71, CI = 1.16, 2.52), avoided health services (aOR = 1.59, CI = 1.04, 2.42), been gossiped about by HCWs (aOR = 3.78, CI = 2.38, 5.99), and felt mistreated in a health center (aOR = 3.39, CI = 1.86, 6.20). Country-specific analyses suggested that data from Cameroon drove several of these associations. Conclusions: Research to determine the factors driving disclosure’s differential effect on healthcare stigma across contexts is needed. Ultimately, supportive environments enabling safe disclosure is critical to understanding HIV-acquisition risks and informing differentiated HIV-prevention, treatment, and testing services for MSM across SSA.
- Healthcare stigma
- Men who have sex with men
- Sub-Saharan Africa
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health