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The Association Of HIV Stigma And HIV/STD Knowledge With Sexual Risk Behaviors Among Adolescent And Adult Men Who Have Sex With Men In Ghana, West Africa.

L. Nelson, L. Wilton, Thomas Agyarko-Poku, N. Zhang, Marilyn A. Aluoch, Chia T. Thach, Samuel Owiredu Hanson, Y. Adu-Sarkodie
Published 2015 · Medicine

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Ghanaian men who have sex with men (MSM) have a high HIV seroprevalence, but despite a critical need to address this public health concern, research evidence has been extremely limited on influences on sexual risk behavior among MSM in Ghana. To investigate associations between HIV/STD knowledge, HIV stigma, and sexual behaviors in a sample of MSM in Ghana, we conducted a secondary data analysis of cross-sectional survey data from a non-probability sample of Ghanaian MSM (N = 137). Nearly all the men (93%) had more than one current sex partner (M = 5.11, SD = 7.4). Of those reported partners, the average number of current female sexual partners was 1.1 (SD = 2.6). Overall, knowledge levels about HIV and STDs were low, and HIV stigma was high. There was no age-related difference in HIV stigma. Younger MSM (≤25 years) used condoms less often for anal and vaginal sex than did those over 25. Relative frequency of condom use for oral sex was lower in younger men who had higher STD knowledge and also was lower in older men who reported high HIV stigma. Knowledge and stigma were not associated with condom use for anal or vaginal sex in either age group. These descriptive data highlight the need for the development of intervention programs that address HIV/STD prevention knowledge gaps and reduce HIV stigma in Ghanaian communities. Intervention research in Ghana should address age-group-specific HIV prevention needs of MSM youth.
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