20th International AIDS Conference - Melbourne, Australia


MOPE410 Poster Exhibition

Genuine partnership and tokenism: assessing engagement and participation of men who have sex with men (MSM) organizations in national and sub-national HIV planning in seven Sub-Saharan Africa countries

Presented by Darrin Adams (United States).

D. Adams1, C. Wolf2, R. MacInnis1, K. Esom3, D. Mbote4, K. Klindera5, S. Baral6

1Health Policy Project, Futures Group, Center for Policy & Advocacy, Washington, United States, 2U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), Bureau for Global Health, Office of HIV/AIDS, Washington, United States, 3African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR), Johannesburg, South Africa, 4Health Policy Project, Futures Group, Nairobi, Kenya, 5amfAR, the Foundation for AIDS Research, New York, United States, 6Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Department of Epidemiology, Baltimore, United States

Background: The Global Fund New Funding Model, PEPFAR Blueprint, and UNAIDS Investment Framework call for increased engagement of key HIV affected populations in funding decisions. There are limited number of systematic collection activities in place to monitor whether organizations serving men who have sex with men (MSM) are engaged in national and sub-national HIV policy, research, programming or donor planning processes.
Methods: The Sub-Saharan Africa MSM Engagement (SAME) Tool was piloted April-June 2013 with eight leading MSM organizations in Rwanda, Malawi, Togo, Mozambique, Zambia, Tanzania, Ghana, and Cameroon. The tool is an online, self-administered survey with modules covering organizational structure; engagement with national and sub-national government-led mechanisms, such as Technical Working Groups (TWGs); partnership and coordination in national MSM-related research and programming; and engagement with donors and agencies such as the Global Fund, UN Member Bodies, and the U.S. Government (USG). With PEPFAR support, through the USAID-funded Health Policy Project and AIDSTAR-Two, the groups completed the SAME Tool in collaboration with the African Men for Sexual Health and Rights (AMSHeR) coalition.
Results: Five out of eight organizations knew of a national Key Populations TWG in their country; three were members and reported that meeting attendance was easy but influencing decisions was difficult. Six out of eight organizations participated in the HIV national strategic plan development; attendance at deliberations was easy but influencing decisions difficult. None of the respondents reported being members of the Global Fund Country Coordinating Mechanism. Tokenism, stigma, discrimination, and lack of technical knowledge were reported as barriers to meaningful engagement.
Conclusions: While there are limitations in the approach used here, the SAME Tool is useful for systematic donor tracking and civil society/community advocacy. This tool provides input on gaps that need to be addressed for increased engagement and genuine partnership of MSM in international, national, and sub-national HIV planning processes. Donors, implementing organizations, and other international bodies should be aware of the level of MSM participation and contribution and provide avenues and capacity development for their greater involvement to increase uptake of HIV prevention, treatment, and care services.

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