International AIDS Society


Working with the media to reduce stigma and discrimination towards MSM in Senegal

D Diouf1A Moreau2, C Castle3, G Engelberg4, P Tapsoba5
1Enda Tiers Monde, Dakar, Senegal; 2Population Council's Horizons Program, Dakar, Senegal; 3International HIV/AIDS Alliance, Horizons Program, Washington DC, United States; 4African Consultant International, Dakar, Senegal; 5Population Council's Horizons Program, Accra, Ghana

Issue: A diagnostic study in Senegal revealed that men who have sex with men (MSM) face stigma, discrimination, rejection and violence. The study recommended dialogue with and sensitization of among others the media to improve MSM knowledge, norms, attitudes and behaviors, and to reduce stigma and other impediments to services for MSM. This paper describes the experience of a media-based intervention in Dakar.
Description: The intervention focused on policy advocacy with health managers and providers and the community as a whole. Individual meetings and in-depth discussions with about twenty leaders of different media groups explored their willingness to attend a media communication consensus-building workshop. Nearly fifty journalists from twenty media groups attended a two-day seminar to raise awareness of the vulnerability of MSM to STI/HIV and to present public health-based approaches to reducing their vulnerability Previous media materials were reviewed and discussed for possible consequences of stigma and discrimination of MSM and recommendations for the future were made. A pre-and post seminar evaluation of the participants was performed, followed by monitoring of articles and reports issued after the workshop.
Lessons learned and recommendations: A large majority of the participants was unaware of the link between reporting on MSM and increased vulnerability to violence and HIV/STI. The evaluation showed substantial improvement of participants' attitudes towards MSM and awareness of their vulnerability to HIV/STIs and the link to overall public health, and intentions to change reporting behaviors. Articles and reports published after the seminar confirmed the expected improvements: a positive approach, and encouragement and promotion of social justice toward MSM favoring their access to health care. The media can be mobilized as a powerful tool to help improve MSM social conditions and address public health problems.

The XV International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. WePeC6153

Suggested Citation
"D Diouf, , et al. Working with the media to reduce stigma and discrimination towards MSM in Senegal. Poster Exhibition: The XV International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. WePeC6153"