News / Africa

Study: Homosexual Community at Increased Risk for HIV

Megan McGrath
One of the challenges of fighting HIV around the world is the difficulty of reaching those at risk. A new study from South Africa indicates that the homosexual community is at increased risk for HIV, and that widespread homophobia may keep these men from receiving the information and care that they need.

Gay men in Africa face extreme homophobia and violence within their communities, and in many African nations, men who have sex with other men may be imprisoned, or even sentenced to death. Because of this stigma, they are a hidden population, with many keeping their sexual orientation secret.

A new anonymous survey of 1,700 men in South Africa indicates that one out of every 20 has had consensual sex with another man.

“The number of men in South Africa who have had consensual experiences with other men is pretty much on par with every other country in the world," said Kristin Dunkle. "Looking at the findings, pretty much everything had me nodding my head and saying, ‘Actually, that makes a lot of sense.’”

But Emory University professor Kristin Dunkle, the lead author of the report, says she was surprised by the violence that the survey revealed.

“About 1 in 10 men have been sexually assaulted. That’s, I think, a higher number than anyone was really expecting," said Dunkle.

The extent of anti-gay pressures - both social and legal - confronting men in Africa makes it difficult for these victims of sexual violence to seek help. Homosexual men in Africa are at increased risk of contracting HIV, and their access to life-saving HIV prevention and care may be limited. Rachel Jewkes of the Medical Research Council in South Africa led this research.

“It’s very difficult for men who have sex with men to come forward and try and engage healthcare [providers] around HIV-related issues, and so tackling the stigma associated with male-male sexual behavior is absolutely critical," said Jewkes.

The researchers say that these men need more accessible HIV education and aid, especially since they may be putting others at risk.

“A very high proportion, more than two-thirds of the men who’d ever had sex with men, currently have a female partner," she said.

In their report, published in PLOS Medicine, the researchers call for increased HIV education and outreach for the African gay, lesbian, and bisexual community. They also stress the need to counter wide-spread homophobia, both to enable public health efforts, and to reduce the high incidence of anti-gay violence in Africa.

You May Like

Video Miami Cubans Divided on New US Policy

While older, more conservative Cuban Americans have promoted anti-Castro political movement for years, younger generations say economically, it is time for change More

2014 Sees Dramatic Uptick in Boko Haram Abductions

Militants suspected in latest mass kidnapping of over 100 people in Gumsuri, Nigeria on Sunday More

Video Cuba Deal Is Major Victory for Pope

Role of Francis hailed throughout US, Latin America - though some Cuban-American Catholics have mixed feelings More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacksi
X
December 19, 2014 12:45 AM
The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video Sudan School Becomes Target of Aerial Attacks

The school dropout rate is at an all-time high in Sudan's South Kordofan state because many schools have been destroyed during the three-year civil war between the government and SPLA-N rebel forces. Adam Bailes visited Sudan's Nuba Mountains' region and reports many children are simply too scared to go to school
Video

Video VOA Reporter Tours Devastated Peshawar School

Islamist militants wearing military uniforms and strapped with explosives attacked a military run school Tuesday in the northwestern Pakistani city of Peshawar. At least 141 people were killed in the horrific attack, most of them young students. VOA reporter Ayaz Gul visited the devastated school and attended the funeral of the principal who courageously tried to save her students from the deadly attack.
Video

Video Nigerians Fleeing Boko Haram Languish in Camp Near Capital

In its five-year effort to impose Islamic law in northeastern Nigeria, the Boko Haram extremist group has killed thousands of people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee. Some of those who ran for their lives now live in squalor on the edges of the capital, Abuja. Chris Stein reports for VOA.
Video

Video Putin Says Russian Economy Will Emerge Stronger

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said his country's sinking economy will not only recover but also become stronger, despite falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Detained Turkish Journalists Follow Teachings of US-Based Preacher

The Turkish government’s jailing of critical journalists has sparked international condemnation and is being seen as an effort to undermine the followers of an ailing Turkish preacher based in the United States. VOA religion reporter Jerome Socolovsky has more.
Video

Video ‘Anti-Islamization’ Marches Increase Tensions In Germany

Anti-immigrant rallies in Germany have been building in recent weeks, peaking Monday night in the city of Dresden where tens of thousands of people turned out to demonstrate against what they call the ‘Islamization’ of the West. Germany has offered asylum to more Syrian refugees than any other country, and this appears to have set off the protests. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Aceh Rebuilt Decade After Tsunami, But Scars Remain

On December 26, 2004 there was an earthquake in the Indian Ocean so powerful it caused the Earth’s axis to wobble a few centimeters. Onshore on the island of Sumatra, the resulting tsunami was devastating. A decade later, VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Banda Aceh, Indonesia, where although there is little remaining evidence of the physical devastation, the psychological scars among survivors remain.
Video

Video Refugees Living in Kenya Long for Peace in the Home Countries

Kenya is host to numerous refugees seeking safe haven from conflict. Immigrants from Somalia face challenges in their new lives in Kenya. Ahead of International Migrants Day (December 18) Lenny Ruvaga has more for VOA News from the Kenyan capital.

All About America

AppleAndroid