Have you ever wondered what some of the long ranged and potentially harmful side effects of a country’s homophobia? Well one study has found some rather shocking results. The study, Access to HIV Prevention and Treatment for Men Who Have Sex with Men done by the medical and mental professionals of The Global Forum on MSM & HIV (MSMGF) found that situations like rate of homophobic perceptions and income are directly correlated to the number of HIV cases seen in sexually active gay men.
As you can see in the graph below, it shows that gay men from low income countries that have a high amount of homophobia as well as a lack of access to preventative measures such as condoms, testing, and treatments are at a significantly higher chances on contracting HIV.
The study does note that a high amount of participants that resided in low income countries expressed fear of exposure of their sexuality and that homophobia which lead to them not buying and preparing things such as lubricant and condoms that would help protect them against HIV and other diseases that can be transmitted through sexual intercourse. Here’s a further and more detailed summary of the study’s findings:
In summary, the study findings underscore the need to improve global efforts to ensure that gay men and other MSM have access to basic HIV prevention and treatment services. Structural, community/interpersonal, and individual barriers and facilitators to service access must be addressed at multiple levels; interventions must both disrupt the negative effects of barriers and support the protective effects of facilitators. When considering PrEP implementation, study findings indicate an urgent need for the dissemination of more and better information regarding HIV prevention strategies generally and PrEP in particular.
From the narratives of MSM who participated in this study, it is clear that local and global advocacy efforts are needed to create enabling sociopolitical environments that will increase access to HIV-related services and improve MSM health overall. Securing the human rights of MSM is essential to HIV prevention and treatment strategies, new and old.
These barriers, either through society or anti-gay laws undoubtedly and justifiably perceived as homophobia were also found to cause these overall feelings with higher rates of HIV cases:
Delay/avoidance of services
So the next time someone say being anti-gay doesn’t have ramifications this study proves the contrary. And even though this is only one very detailed piece of evidence, the findings are hard to dispute. Homophobia has much more powerful and potentially damaging consequences than previously known.