How men who have sex with men experience HIV health services in Kampala, Uganda

Rachel King, Zubayiri Sebyala, Moses Ogwal, George Aluzimbi, Rose Apondi, Steven Reynolds, Patrick Sullivan, Wolfgang Hladik

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


In sub-Saharan Africa, men who have sex with men (MSM) are socially, largely hidden and face disproportionate risk for HIV infection. Attention to HIV epidemics among MSM in Uganda and elsewhere in sub-Saharan Africa has been obscured by repressive governmental policies, criminalisation, stigma and the lack of basic epidemiological data describing these epidemics. In this paper, we aim to explore healthcare access, experiences with HIV prevention services and structural barriers to using healthcare services in order to inform the acceptability of a combination HIV prevention package of services for men who have sex with men in Uganda. We held focus group discussions (FGDs) with both MSM and healthcare providers in Kampala, Uganda, to explore access to services and to inform prevention and care. Participants were recruited through theoretical sampling with criteria based on ability to answer the research questions. Descriptive thematic coding was used to analyse the FGD data. We described MSM experiences, both negative and positive, as they engaged with health services. Our findings showed that socio-structural factors, mediated by psychological and relational factors impacted MSM engagement in care. The socio-structural factors such as stigma, homophobia and policy issues emerged strongly as did the mediating factors such as relations with specific health staff and a social support structure. A combination intervention addressing structural, social and psychological barriers could have an impact even in the precarious policy environment where this study was conducted.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere001901
JournalBMJ Global Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 19 2020


  • HIV
  • qualitative study

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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