Journal Article

‘It’s raining stones’: Stigma, violence and HIV vulnerability among men who have sex with men in Dakar, Senegal

Research in many countries has highlighted the vulnerability of men who have sex with men to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Yet in Africa, such men have received little attention in HIV/AIDS programming and service delivery because of the widespread denial and stigmatization of male homosexual behaviour. In Dakar, Senegal, a study conducted by researchers from Cheikh Anta Diop University, the Senegal National Council Against AIDS, and the Horizons Program elicited quantitative and qualitative data about the needs, behaviours, knowledge, and attitudes of men who have sex with men. Findings reveal that respondents have distinct identities and social roles that go beyond sexual practices, that sex with men is driven by many reasons, including love, pleasure, and economic exchange, and that respondents’ lives are often characterized by stigma, violence and rejection. The data also highlight that many men are at risk of HIV because of unprotected sex with other men, a history of STI symptoms, and poor knowledge of STIs. The study underscores the need for non-stigmatizing, sexual health information and services.