Attitudes and behaviors among older MSM in Ghana
Baffuor Opoku, Kofi
Bachman DeSilva, Mary
Ahmed Abdul Rahman, Yussif
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This report provides the findings of a qualitative study that explored vulnerability to HIV of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Kumasi, Ghana. It is the second of two related studies focusing on MSM. The first study, “Exploring the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of MSM engaged in substance use and transactional sex in Ghana,”1 focused on adolescent and young adult MSM aged 15 to 29 years. This companion study focused on ‘older MSM’, encompassing individuals aged 30 years and above. This research was conducted by a collaborative team comprised of researchers from Boston University’s Center for Global and Health and Development (CGHD) and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST). The team conducted this research in Kumasi, Ghana’s second largest urban center. It is a component of the ‘Operations Research for Key Populations in Ghana’ Program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID). We designed and carried out the study in collaboration with FHI 360, an organization based in the capital of Accra that operates programs targeting MSM and other high‐risk individuals in Ghana, as well as the Ghana AIDS Commission (GAC). Reducing vulnerability to HIV infection among high‐risk populations in Ghana is a major goal for the National AIDS Control Program (NACP) and the GAC. MSM are highly stigmatized in Ghana, in part because male‐to‐male sex is illegal. This makes it extremely challenging to understand the challenges these men face and ensure that they have access to HIV‐ and AIDS‐related services. We designed this qualitative study to add to what is known about the beliefs, attitudes, and behaviors of older MSM in Ghana. We focused on two groups among older MSM: those aged 30‐39 years and those aged 40 years and above. Given the need for more data on these groups to better reach them with effective HIV prevention and treatment information, the study aimed to explore: 1) How older MSM find their sex partners; 2) Their views of HIV risk; 3) Their risky behaviors, including those situations in which they are most likely to engage in risky sex; 4) HIV‐related services they receive; and 5) What services would be most helpful to them. The broad goal of the study was to collect and analyze in‐depth data in order to improve the outreach and effectiveness of local programs that aim to reach older MSM with important HIV prevention and treatment information and with services appropriate to their needs.
This study was implemented by Boston University in collaboration with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology with support from the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief (PEPFAR) through the U.S. Agency for International Development under Project SEARCH Task Order No. GHH‐I‐00‐07‐00023‐00, beginning August 27, 2010. The content and views expressed here are the authors’ and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or policy of USAID or the U.S. Government.