This report describes the key conversation points and lessons learned in the Co-Creating Conscious Learning Cultures conversation held in Maseru, Lesotho on the 23rd June 2017. The conversation was part of the Key Populations – Representation, Evidence and Advocacy for Change in Health (KP REACH) program, which aims to reduce HIV infections and HIV-related deaths among key populations in Southern Africa through improved access by KPs to HIV prevention, testing and treatment services. The conversation is part of the KP REACH Learning component of the program, which is led by CAL in 8 countries across sub-Saharan Africa.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) and HIV in Lesotho1
In Lesotho, there is limited research on men who have sex with men (sometimes referred to as MSM), which has resulted in little understanding of the HIV epidemic among this population. However, Lesotho’s Ministry of Health included data in its UNAIDS Country Progress Report 2015 about men who have sex with men and female sex workers from two urban areas Maseru and Maputsoe. This found many of the men who have sex with men questioned had tested for HIV more than once (56% in Maseru and 61% in Maputsoe). It estimated HIV prevalence among this population to be 31% and 35% in Maseru and Maputsoe respectively, far surpassing national prevalence. Many respondents reported experiencing stigma and human rights abuses, particularly verbal abuse, blackmail and physical aggression. Many were too afraid to access health services because of these experiences.