The sexual health needs of men who have sex with men (MSM), particularly men who identify as straight but engage in same-sex sexual practices, are notoriously neglected, making them a most-at-risk group (MARP), or key population in the HIV epidemic.

Anova Health Institute, an EQUIP consortium partner, pioneered the Health4Men initiative as one of the first projects on the continent to draw considerable attention to and address the sexual health needs of men who have sex with men in the context of HIV.

MSM have a heightened risk of HIV and require the provision of competent, prejudice-free sexual healthcare for MSM and the promotion of a sex-positive attitude among healthcare workers.

Better services for men who have sex with men

Part of the EQUIP program’s focus area is to find ways of strengthening the healthcare system for men and MSM. This has included dedicating resources to training and the introduction of MSM-competent sites. Along with rolling out services for MSM, comes the need for a general change in approach among healthcare workers in primary health settings. One of the key barriers recognized to addressing HIV among MSM is stigmatisation by healthcare workers.