Risk of Sexual, Physical and Verbal Assaults on Men Who Have Sex with Men and Female Sex Workers in Coastal Kenya

January 2016 - Structural Prevention

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Micheni, M., Rogers, S., Wahome, E., et al. AIDS (December 2015), 29(3):S231-S236, doi: 10.1097/QAD.0000000000000912.

This study compared the incidence of sexual, physical, and verbal assault among men who have sex with men (MSM) to that among female sex workers (FSWs) in coastal Kenya between 2005 and 2014. The study enrolled 1,425 adults aged 18–49 years who demonstrated high-risk sexual behavior in the past three months. All participants were followed up at monthly or quarterly clinic visits that included behavioral risk assessment, a standardized physical and genital examination, and HIV testing. The authors found that the individual risk of rape among MSM was similar to that experienced by FSWs. However, FSW had higher incidence of reported physical and verbal assault than MSM (21.1 versus 12.9 per 100 person-years). Among MSM, alcohol use was associated with reporting of all forms of assault by MSM. Perpetrators of sexual and verbal assault against MSM were usually unknown, whilst perpetrators of physical violence toward FSWs were usually regular sexual partners. The authors concluded that to complement existing services, programs should develop interventions to prevent violence toward key populations and deliver accessible care for survivors. They also recommended further research to clarify the direct and indirect consequences of violence on HIV incidence and other health risks, including impairment of psychological and social well-being.

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