Men who have sex with men and HIV/AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa
Globally, men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to bear a high burden of HIV infection. In sub-Saharan Africa, same-sex behaviours have been largely neglected by HIV research up to now. The results from recent studies, however, indicate the widespread existence of MSM groups across Africa, and high rates of HIV infection, HIV risk behaviour, and evidence of behavioural links between MSM and heterosexual networks have been reported. Yet most African MSM have no safe access to relevant HIV/AIDS information and services, and many African states have not begun to recognise or address the needs of these men in the context of national HIV/AIDS prevention and control programmes. The HIV/AIDS community now has considerable challenges in clarifying and addressing the needs of MSM in sub-Saharan Africa; homosexuality is illegal in most countries, and political and social hostility are endemic. An effective response to HIV/AIDS requires improved strategic information about all risk groups, including MSM. The belated response to MSM with HIV infection needs rapid and sustained national and international commitment to the development of appropriate interventions and action to reduce structural and social barriers to make these accessible.