20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


TUAD0204 - Oral Abstract

Assessing policy impact on HIV intervention targeting MSM in Abuja, Nigeria

Presented by Ifeanyi Kelly Orazulike (Nigeria).

I.K. Orazulike1, J. Adeniyi2, O. Stanley2, U. Ononaku3, D. Kalu2, A. Doroh4, C. Akolo5, S. Kennedy5, S. Baral6, M. Charurat5

1International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH), Executive Director, FCT, Nigeria, 2International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH), Human Rights and Advocacy Unit, FCT, Nigeria, 3Institute of Human Virology Nigeria (IHVN), Research, FCT, Nigeria, 4International Center for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH), HIV Prevention Unit, FCT, Nigeria, 5Institute of Human Virology (IHV), Epidemiology and Prevention, Baltimore, United States, 6Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health, Epidemiology and Prevention, Baltimore, United States

Background: Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) have always had a key role in the global HIV epidemic. On January 7, 2014, the Nigeria President signed an Act that “criminalizes any same sex ''amorous'' relationship and imposes a total ban on gay clubs, societies, and organizations and created criminal liability for any person who aids or supports such an organization” .Nigeria has the second largest number of people living with HIV and account for 10% of global HIV burden. MSM in the country including MSM associations such as support group of MSM living with HIV (MSMLHIV) are being driven underground at the stake of risking 10 years imprisonment by the virtue of the new anti-gay law which criminalizes gay associations.
Description: The International Centre for Advocacy on Rights to Health (ICARH) in partnership with the Institute of Human Virology (IHV) and the Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health through an ongoing MSM-specific combination prevention research, including HIV treatment as prevention at a trusted community venue in Nigeria (Trust Study),conducted a quantitative analysis and interpersonal interviews to access the factors/situation driving MSM away from assessing life saving HIV intervention.
Lessons learned: There is a sharp decline in the number of MSM assessing healthcare services since the passage of the new law.
Between March and December 2013, 572 MSM participated in the study, reflecting an average participation of 63 MSM monthly. Only 10 MSM participated in the study between 7th-25thJanuary which reflects and average monthly participation of 15 MSM.
A strong 84 MSM (96.6%) of 115 MSM individuals interviewed expressed adeclining interest for continuous engagement in HIV intervention programs as a result of the new law that criminalize their involvement in services provided to gay men in Nigeria. The major reasons for declining interest are: fear of persecution, extortion and blackmail.
Conclusions/Next steps: The overwhelming decline in the participation of MSM in HIV programs poses grave consequences in public health intervention in Nigeria.
Countries having punitive laws limiting the optimum participation of MSM and healthcare workers in public health interventions/institutions should repeal such laws and provide adequate alternatives for the affected Key Population.

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