Glob Public Health. 2015 Oct 30:1-14.
Recent research has presented evidence that men who have sex with men (MSM) bear a disproportionate burden of HIV and are at increased risk for HIV in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA). However, many countries in SSA have failed to address the needs of MSM in national HIV/AIDS programmes. Furthermore, many MSM face structural barriers to HIV prevention and care, the most significant of which include laws that criminalise male-to-male sexual contact and facilitate stigma and discrimination. This in turn increases the vulnerability of MSM to acquiring HIV and presents barriers to HIV prevention, care, and surveillance. This relationship illustrates the link between human rights, social justice, and health outcomes and presents considerable challenges to addressing the HIV epidemic among MSM in SSA. The response to the HIV epidemic in SSA requires a non-discriminatory human rights approach to all at-risk groups, including MSM. Existing international human rights treaties, to which many SSA countries are signatories, and a ‘health in all policies’ approach provides a strong basis to reduce structural barriers to HIV prevention, care, surveillance, and research, and to ensure that all populations in SSA, including MSM, have access to the full range of rights that help ensure equal opportunities for health and wellness.
HIV/AIDS; discrimination; human rights; men who have sex with men; stigma; sub-Saharan Africa