The Men's Health Network, Nigeria (MHNN): Social networking, social franchising, new technologies, and traditional prevention for high-risk men, including MSM (PDF)
Poster presentation at 5th International AIDS Society (IAS) Conference on HIV Pathogenesis, Treatment and Prevention, Cape Town, 19-22 July
Karlyn,Andrew; Adebajo,Sylvia; Nwachukwu,Chukwuemeka; Darby,Heather; Tun,Waimar; Kellerman,Scott E.
Publication date: 2009
There remains considerable stigma and discrimination toward men who have sex with men (MSM) in Nigeria. Although work has documented particularly high-risk behaviors, there remain limited services promoting healthy sexual behavior among these populations. Health care providers are largely unaware of the special needs of MSM, and nearly all available health education messages focus on vertical, iatrogenic, and heterosexual vaginal transmission of HIV/STI with no mention of the risks involved in either heterosexual or homosexual unprotected anal sex. To address this gap Population Council, Nigeria, designed and implemented the Nigeria Men's Health Network (NMHN), the first comprehensive prevention intervention program focusing on high-risk men.
The NMHN employs multiple integrated approaches to create demand for and availability of "hassle-free" health and social services through the provision of a comprehensive HIV prevention package to bring about behavior change, change community norms, improve access to and quality of community-based care and treatment (HCT) and sexually transmitted disease (STI) services, and to reduce HIV risk among men engaged in high-risk behaviors. Techniques used to achieve these goals include mapping of MSM networks to employ social network approaches as a strategy for dissemination of health information and to increase demand for health and prevention services among high risk men, social franchising of health services to allow recognition of MSM-friendly health services by those in need, and electronic data collection in the form of smart cards to ensure appropriate data collection for monitoring and evaluation purposes.
Preliminary work has documented that despite prevailing homophobia, there is willingness by partners to move forward with provision of quality care and prevention for MSM.
MSM continue to suffer disproportionately from stigma and discrimination and to have disproportionately high rates of HIV. MSM-specific health and prevention interventions are essential but require creative approaches.