International AIDS Society


An investigation of violence and discrimination among men who have sex with men in Kenya

M. Skovdal1, E. Mwangi2, M. Meegan2

Despite literature on victimisation and assaults on men who have sex with men (MSM) in developed countries, there is little literature on violence of MSM in less developed countries. This study depicts how culturally deviant sexual behaviour and attitude is a source of social anxieties and tensions, victimising MSM, further endangering their sexual health, as discrimination and violence stops them from receiving health care and asserting their rights.

The findings of this study are based on qualitative data, collected through in-depth interviews and a series of focus group discussions with a diverse collection of MSM and health centre workers in four urban locations of Kenya. The interviews and focus discussion groups were made up of 64 men between 17- 34, with an average age of 27. These came from five countries and were from 14 ethnic groups.

Concerns were identified from the focus group discussions. Physical violence and rape, made them vulnerable and afraid. Discrimination denied them access to health services, leaving MSM with little opportunity to treat STIs and overall, prevent HIV transmission.

In the short term, a big and more visibly group of MSM are victims of homophobic attacks and denied adequate access to health services, while in the long term, the negative consequences for MSM and their spouses is a rapid spread of HIV. Two recommendations are made: Support networks and groups, asserting and supporting the rights of MSM, have to be established; Sexual health clinics, supporting CSW and MSM, should be made readily available. The findings of this study suggest that although MSM and CSW is a high risk group in the AIDS epidemic, discrimination and violence of this group, makes it impossible for this group to act accordingly until the underlying causes of homophobia are adressed.

AIDS 2006 - XVI International AIDS Conference
Abstract no. CDD0335

Suggested Citation
"M.Skovdal, et al. An investigation of violence and discrimination among men who have sex with men in Kenya. : AIDS 2006 - XVI International AIDS Conference: Abstract no. CDD0335"