Stigma and Healthcare-Seeking Practices of Men Who Have Sex with Men in Western Kenya: A Mixed-Methods Approach for Scale Validation

Sylvia Shangani, Violet Naanyu, Don Operario, Becky Genberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


In sub-Saharan Africa, men who have sex with men (MSM) experience high HIV prevalence, in part, due to stigma and discrimination creating barriers to engagement in prevention and care services. We examined the reliability and validity of measures of stigma and satisfaction with healthcare providers, as well as explored whether scores on the factors varied across sociodemographic variables among MSM in western Kenya. A mixed-methods design using a sequential triangulation approach was adopted, involving a survey of 89 MSM and 10 key informant interviews. Reliability and correlation analyses, exploratory factor analyses, t-tests, and ANOVAs (analyses of variances) were conducted to test the scale's psychometric properties and examine differences in mean scores by demographics. Thematic analysis with qualitative data was used to validate the meaning of scales and explore how stigma influences and relates to satisfaction with healthcare providers. Of 89 participants, 50% identified as homosexual, 52% had college degree, 45% were above 25 years, and 72% had ever been married. Three subscales measuring enacted stigma, internalized stigma, and mistrust of healthcare providers showed good reliability (α = 0.80, α = 0.90, and α = 0.90). Men who identified as homosexual reported higher mean scores of enacted stigma and distrust of healthcare providers compared to heterosexual/bisexual identified (p < 0.001). Qualitative data revealed perceptions that healthcare providers were not knowledgeable to handle MSM needs. Study provides preliminary evidence for the reliability and validity of measures of stigma and mistrust of healthcare providers in Kenya. Quantitative and qualitative findings highlight the need for interventions to reduce stigma and create a more inclusive health system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)477-486
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS Patient Care and STDs
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2018



  • healthcare
  • HIV
  • Kenya
  • MSM
  • providers
  • stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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