HIV: Men who have Sex with Men

By Musisi Yiga John

Men who have sex with men (MSM)

HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (sometimes referred to as MSM) in Uganda was an estimated 11% in 2013, the most recent data available.

A 2017 study among men who have sex with men in Kampala reported high risk behaviours to be common, including 34% of respondents reporting regularl unprotected anal sex, 36% selling sex, 52% having multiple steady partners, 62% having multiple casual partners, and 30% injecting drugs

Pervasive HIV-related social stigma and high levels of homophobic violence caused by conservative social attitudes and stigmatising legislation result in men who have sex with men feeling less inclined to access HIV services. The 2017 study mentioned above found 42% had experienced homophobic abuse and 45.9% had experienced suicidal thought.

The Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act was passed by parliament in December 2013 and officially signed into law in February 2014. Although the law was annulled in August 2014 due to a technicality based on the number of MPs present during the vote, it is thought to have resulted in increased harassment and prosecution based on sexual orientation and gender identities. It has also triggered negative discussions from the general population on social media, in which violence and anti-homosexual discrimination are advocated.21

HIV outreach workers and services providers working in Uganda with men who have sex with men have also reported heightened challenges in reaching this population.

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