Managing stigma – report into gay and bisexual African men with HIV released

The first study into the lives of gay and bisexual African men living with HIV in London describes the challenges they face in dealing with the complex and sometimes contradictory realities of life.

The report, entitled ‘I count myself as being in a different world: African gay and bisexual men living with HIV in London’, has just been released by the Centre of Sexual Health and HIV at Homerton University Hospital NHS Foundation Trust. It highlights that the additional stigma of being gay or bisexual and HIV positive is difficult for African men. However, life in London offers some benefits to men in this situation, including access to healthcare and more liberal sexual attitudes in the Capital.

The report shows that the dual stigma of being gay or bisexual and having HIV causes a dilemma when African men consider disclosing their condition. Author Professor Lesley Doyal said: “Our study shows that being HIV and gay or bisexual has created very complex social lives for African men, with many developing and having to manage different groups of friends who will either know some, all or nothing about their situation. Those who are open about being gay or bisexual and HIV tend to only go where this is accepted, sometimes losing contact with their own communities.”

The report highlights that African gay or bisexual men with HIV face additional difficulties to other gay/bisexual men with HIV, because of the expectations surrounding their cultural identity. This has created a new set of practical and emotional needs, which sometimes cannot be met, particularly for those with little money or insecure immigration status.

This report is third in a series of projects describing the experiences of African people living with HIV in London.

It is available to download:

Researchers from City University London and Homerton are now appealing for African men who have sex with men to take part in a major new national study. The project, Men and Sexual Health (MESH), will investigate whether sexual health services in Britain meet the needs of ethnic minority men who have sex with other men (MSM) including men of African origin.

The questionnaire is online at.

The two previous reports in this project are:

Doyal, L & Anderson, J (2003) ‘My heart is loaded’: African women with HIV surviving in London

Doyal, L, Anderson J & Apenteng, P (2005) ‘I want to survive, I want to win, I want tomorrow’: an exploratory study of African men living with HIV in London

Online versions of both reports are available:

Links to other websites are current at date of posting but not maintained.