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

At International AIDS Conference One Goal, Many Paths

The 12,000 delegates attending 20th International AIDS Conference in Melbourne have vastly different visions about how to eradicate disease More

Disasters May Doom Malaysia’s Flag Carrier

Even before loss of two jets loaded with passengers on international flights, company had been operating in red for three years, accumulating deficit of $1.3 billion More

Afghan Presidential Vote Audit Continues Despite Glitches

Process has been marred by walkouts by representatives of two competing candidates, Abdullah Abdullah and Ashraf Ghani More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Agei
X
Elizabeth Lee
July 20, 2014 2:36 AM
Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Nature of Space Exploration Enters New Age

Forty-five years ago this month, the first humans walked on the moon. It was during an era of the space race between the United States and the Soviet Union. World politics have changed since then and -- as Elizabeth Lee reports -- so has the nature of space exploration.
Video

Video Chicago’s Argonne Lab Developing Battery of the Future

In 2012, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science awarded a $120 million grant to a new technology center focused on battery development - headquartered at Argonne National Laboratory in suburban Chicago, Illinois. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, there scientists are making the next technological breakthroughs in energy storage.
Video

Video In NW Pakistan, Army Offensive Causes Massive Number of Displaced

Pakistan’s army offensive in North Waziristan has resulted in the large-scale displacement of the local population. VOA's Ayaz Gul reports from northwest Pakistan where authorities say around 80 percent of the estimated 1 million internally displaced persons [IDPs] have settled in Bannu district, while much of the remaining 20 percent are scattered in nearby cities.
Video

Video Kurdish Peshmerga Force Secures Kirkuk, Its Oil

The Kurdistan regional government has sent its Peshmerga troops into the adjacent province of Kirkuk to drive out insurgents, and to secure the area's rich oil fields. By doing this, the regional government has added a fourth province to the three it officially controls. The oil also provides revenue that could make an independent Kurdistan economically strong. VOA’s Jeffrey Young went out with the Peshmerga and filed this report.
Video

Video Malaysia Reeling: Second Air Disaster in Four Months

Malaysia is reeling from the second air disaster in four months involving the country’s flag carrier. Flight 340 vanished in March and despite an extensive search, no debris has been found. And on Thursday, Flight 17, likely hit by a surface-to-air missile, came apart over eastern Ukraine. The two incidents together have left more than 500 people dead. VOA Correspondent Steve Herman reports from Kuala Lumpur.
Video

Video Diplomatic Crisis Grows Over MH17 Plane Crash

The Malaysia Airlines crash in eastern Ukraine is drawing reaction from leaders around the world. With suspicions growing that a surface-to-air missile shot down the aircraft, there are increasing tensions in the international community over who is to blame. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Undocumented Immigrants Face Perilous Journey to US, No Guarantees

Every day, hundreds of undocumented immigrants from Central America attempt the arduous journey through Mexico and turn themselves over to U.S. border patrol -- with the hope that they will not be turned away. But the dangers they face along the way are many, and as Ramon Taylor reports from the Rio Grande Valley in Texas, their fate rests on more than just the reception they get at the US border.
Video

Video Scientists Create Blackest Material Ever

Of all the black things in the universe only the infamous "black holes" are so black that not even a tiny amount of light can bounce back. But scientists have managed to create material almost as black, and it has enormous potential use. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Fog Collector Transforming Maasai Water Harvesting in Kenya

The Maasai people of Kenya are known for their cattle-herding, nomadic lifestyle. But it's an existence that depends on access to adequate water for their herds and flocks. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA, on a "fog collector."

AppleAndroid