Barriers to men who have sex with men attending HIV related health services in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
The HIV/ AIDS disease burden is disproportionately high among men who have sex with men (MSM) worldwide. If this group will continue to be ignored they will continue to be the focus of HIV infection to the general population. This study explored barriers impeding MSM utilizing the HIV related health services currently available. The objectives of the study were to: (i) determine how stigma and discrimination affect MSM attendance to HIV related health services; (ii) determine how health care worker’s (HCW’s) practices and attitudes towards MSM affect their attendance to HIV related health service; (iii) learn MSM’s perception towards seeking HIV related health services and other factors affecting accessibility of HIV related health services among MSM in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. This was a descriptive study whereby qualitative methods were employed, using in-depth interviews for 50 individuals and focus group discussions for 5 groups which were conducted at PASADA premises, in Temeke district in 2012. After transcription data was read through, codes created were then collapsed into themes which were interpreted. The findings of this study show that majority of the study participants access HIV related health services in Dar es Salaam when they need to. However, they reported stigma and discrimination, lack of confidentiality and privacy, lack of availability and MSM friendly HIV related health services, financial challenges, poor practices and negative attitudes directed towards them by health workers, fears and lack of HIV knowledge among them as barriers for them to access these services. With these findings, there is an importance of enabling MSM to overcome the perceived stigma when seeking for HIV related health services. Also there is a need to conduct further research with regards to how HCW’s treat this group and their understanding on same sex practices.