"Missing Voices From The Field" is a collection of over 120 abstracts focused on the health and human rights of MSM and transgender people that were submitted for oral/poster presentation at the 2012 International AIDS Conference (AIDS 2012) in Washington D.C. and subsequently rejected after review by the conference organizers. This publication aims to provide an added venue to showcase valuable advances made by researchers, public health officials, and community members across all world regions to promote the health and human rights of MSM and transgender people.
Full-text versions of high-scoring abstracts and a description of the project are contained in the "Missing Voices" publication. Full-text versions of moderate-scoring abstracts are available on this page.
Download "Missing Voices" by clicking here.
14 Engaging US communities of color and sexual minorities in biomedical HIV prevention research and implementation advocacy: AVAC's PxROAR Program (Prevention Research, Outreach, Advocacy, Representation)
29 HIV-Related Sexual Risk Behaviour in Gay, Bisexual, and other Men who have Sex with Men (GB-MSM) in London, Ontario: Preliminary Findings from the Health in Middlesex Men Matters (HiMMM) Project Survey
61 Electronic medical records and short messaging service (SMS) in anti-retroviral therapy: Mobile health/electronic health (mhealth/ehealth) recommendations from a qualitative study among men who have sex with men and sex workers in Swaziland
By Wilson Zulu
Background: The response to HIV/AIDS in Zambia has often marginalized vulnerable groups like lesbians, gay, bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI). A rights based approach necessitates that there is protection of the rights of those who are particularly vulnerable. Much ground in the area of HIV/AIDS in recent years can be said to have covered the country, this effort unfortunately, has not been all-inclusive. The work has been directed at heterosexuals, nothing has been done to address the specific needs of LGBT. Often, specific prevention & treatment needs of LGBT’s are lost in the bigger picture of the AIDS response.
Methods: In 2010, ZAPHIT undertook a study on LGBTI’s rights to access HIV related treatment and services in Lusaka, Zambia. The study included:- A literature review that looked at legislation, policy and other information related to this area.- A survey to identify specific training for personnel caring for HIV positive LGBTIs, types of treatment, testing and general health services available.
Results: There are many barriers that face LGBTIs in accessing HIV related services which include:- LGBT behaviour, continues to be illegal in most African nations, including Zambia- Absence of an appropriate legal and policy environment - Legislation that criminalizes same sex relationships between two consenting adults -Adherence challenges due to the fact LGBT people are in the closet and refuse to be associated with the LGBTI movement for fear of victimization.- Limited knowledge of health personnel regarding how to deal with LGBTs’ accessing services from their facilities- Non availability of rectal microbicides.
Conclusion: Based on the study, ZAPHIT will engage civil society in developing an advocacy strategy for LGBTI access to health services. It is also hoped that similar research can be done in Zambian prisons where inmates have more obstacles to access some condoms.
By Steve Goodrich; Dane Richardson; Kandasi Levermore
Background: Deaf MSM in Jamaica bear the double burden of being marginalized based on their disability and stigmatized based on their sexual orientation. Existing public health facilities do not provide interpreters to facilitate communication between the deaf and health care professionals. Confidentiality is compromised as deaf clients rely on friends/family members as interpreters when seeking health advice/services.
Methods: JASL through its Deaf MSM programme seeks to build awareness and provide psychological services to the population in order to understand and address issues related to risk of HIV infection. Beginning May2011, support groups are conducted in five areas across the country with the assistance of the only psychologist in Jamaica serving the deaf community. Staff also refer clients to JASL clinics and other MSM friendly health services. Meeting attendance and agendas are documented.
Results: • 51 deaf attendees are served through support group meetings monthly. • 82 % of deaf support group attendees have consistently attended 4 and 8 meetings • 21 deaf MSM attending meetings • 29 non- MSM deaf were also engaged in the meetings (14 Sex Workers, 2 Women who have sex with women,11 heterosexual males and 4 heterosexual females) • 9 MSM, 2 MSM SWs and 5 deaf PLHIV were referred to the JASL clinics. • 22 deaf support group attendees accessed VCT • 1230 male condoms, 52 female condoms and 94 lubricants were disseminated support group attendees
Conclusions: JASL has seen an almost 50% increase in the number deaf individuals that have received HIV and STI information, safer sex commodities and those tested for HIV. There is a higher demand for in rural areas based on the lack of interventions with the population. Importantly, the advent of the support group for deaf MSM has created in-roads to other subsets of the deaf population such as SWs and heterosexuals.
By Sean Cahill; Robert Valadez
Background: HIV prevention with MSM has focused on individual risk behavior and less on antigay prejudice, a key structural driver of HIV vulnerability.
Methods: Research on the impact of antigay stigma on HIV vulnerability among MSM was reviewed. Research-based social marketing campaigns conducted by Gay Men’s Health Crisis (GMHC) were reviewed.
Results: Family rejection and social isolation increase vulnerability to HIV infection among MSM. Anti-gay bullying creates hostile and unsafe environments, and correlates with sexual risk behavior among young MSM. School-based interventions such as gay-straight alliances (GSAs) help young people cultivate a healthy gay identity, and improve their sense of physical safety and belonging at school. Gay and bisexual youth who are rejected by their families are much more likely to report HIV risk behavior; family acceptance is a resiliency factor. GMHC implemented a series of social marketing campaigns to combat anti-gay bias as an HIV prevention strategy. Strength-based campaigns show great efficacy in changing individuals’ behavior. One 2008 campaign, titled “My Son is My Life,” ran on bus shelters, and modeled behavior in which a black father supports his gay son. A 2010 campaign, which ran in New York City’s subway, promoted positive, strength-based images of black and Latino gay men. The campaign, titled “I Love My Boo,” depicted young men in loving embraces in public settings, and encouraged gay men to aspire to committed, long-term relationships.
Conclusions: Antigay prejudice is a public health threat. Community-based prevention programs that affirm the healthy formation of gay and bisexual identities are needed. School-based initiatives that affirm gay and bisexual youth, and social marketing campaigns that challenge family rejection and cultural invisibility of racial minority gay men, are needed to reduce antigay prejudice and HIV vulnerability.
By Nicklas Dennermalm
Background: Until now, The Sexperts has only referred Stockholm's MSM to Venhälsan, the gay clinic of Stockholm for the simple reason that they are the only clinic we can trust doing their job. Our goal is to make sure that MSM are welcome at all clinics both from a rights based perspective as well as way of increasing testing regularity by lowering the thresholds.
Methods: In Nov/Dec of 2011, we engaged our peer workers as well as members of the community as Mystery Testers. Three Mystery Testers were send out to each selected clinics, in total approx. 30 people. After the visit they filled in a protocol with hard questions like “were you offered free Hep B vaccine” and softer questions like “What was your gut feeling after the visit”. The protocols was evaluated in February and The Golden Stars of The Sexperts 2012 was presented to the clinics that passed the test. The goldstar diploma will be on display in the waiting rooms throughout the year. Other marketing channels incl web sites, traditional media and blogs. The clinics, which did not pass the test, will get recommendations on how to improve their work. The Golden Stars of The Sexperts will be valid through 2012. The intervention was not done in secret; it was presented for the clinics and the community through banners and Facebook.
Results: Five HIV/STI clinics was awarded the Golden Stars of The Sexperts in Feb 2012.
Conclusions: The method will be developed further and executed a second time in Dec 2012 and the goal is to increase the amount of Golden Stars presented each year.
By Rose Françoise Tchwenko; Isaac Babila Macauley; Fanny Petitbon; Aisatou Ngong
Background: The HIV/AIDS Prevention Program (HAPP) funded by the United States Agency for International Development is the major project addressing HIV/AIDS needs for marginalized populations in Cameroon. It aims to reduce new HIV infections among most-at-risk populations (MARP) including MSM, increase risk perception among MARP and their access to good quality HIV prevention services. This program aligns behind the Government of Cameroon’s objective to address HIV infection in MSM, as outlined in the HIV/AIDS National Strategic Plan 2011-2015. This study examines the prospects and challenges of implementing a project targeting MSM within a context where same-sex sexual relationships are punishable by law.
Methods: An external qualitative assessment was conducted in 2011 on the project strategy. The methodology included field visits, interviews with HAPP beneficiaries and staff of five local partner organizations; analysis of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities; review of HAPP documents and key external documents on standards for MARP programming.
Results: The HAPP has built a firm foundation by promoting rights-based approaches among its staff, partner organizations and health centres, focusing on the right to health for all, thereby contributing to positive changes in attitudes towards MARP. Through the inclusion of target populations and national institutions in program implementation and oversight, the HAPP has secured key actors’ involvement in activities, among which the 2011 Integrated Biological and Behavioral Surveillance survey within the MSM community. However, given the high level of stigmatization against MSM, the HAPP has difficulty providing access to information and services to hidden sub-groups (older men and MSM who identify themselves as heterosexual males).
Conclusions: The HAPP successfully undertakes prevention and care activities for MSM, despite legal dispositions criminalizing homosexual practices. However, the impact of the HAPP is hindered by challenges faced in reaching most hidden MSM sub-groups (“clandestines”), this in addition to stigma and legal issues.