Men who have sex with men (MSM) in Cape Town's townships remain in need of targeted HIV-prevention services. In 2012, a pilot community-based HIV-prevention programme was implemented that aimed to reach MSM in five Cape Town townships, disseminate HIV-prevention information and supplies, and promote the use of condoms and HIV services. Convenience sampling was used to recruit self-identified MSM who were 18 years old or older in five Cape Town townships. The six-month pilot programme trained five community leaders who, along with staff, provided HIV-prevention information and supplies to MSM through small-group meetings, community-based social activities and inter-community events. After the completion of the pilot programme, in-depth interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) were conducted with a subset of conveniently sampled participants and with each of the community leaders. Qualitative data were then analyzed thematically. Overall, 98 mostly gay-identified black MSM consented to participate, 57 community-based activities were facilitated and 9 inter-community events were conducted. Following their enrollment, 60% (59/98) of participants attended at least one pilot activity. Of those participants, 47% (28/59) attended at least half of the scheduled activities. A total of 36 participants took part in FGDs, and five in-depth interviews were completed with community leaders. Participants reported gaining access to MSM-specific HIV-prevention information, condoms and water-based lubricant through the small-group meetings. Some participants described how their feelings of loneliness, social isolation, self-esteem and self-efficacy were improved after taking part. The social activities and group meetings were viable strategies for disseminating HIV-prevention information, condoms and water-based lubricant to MSM in this setting. Many MSM were also able to receive social support, reduce social isolation and improve their self-esteem. Further research is needed to explore factors affecting attendance and the sustainability of these activities. Perspectives of MSM who did not attend pilot activities regularly were not equally represented in the final qualitative interviews, which could bias the findings. The use of community-based activities and small-group meetings should be explored further as components to ongoing HIV-prevention interventions for MSM in this setting.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases