U.S. Spends $228K to Find Out Why Gay Kenyans Avoid Free HIV Treatment

Photo Credit: AP

Photo Credit: AP

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has authorized a three-year study to find out why some HIV-positive homosexual men in Kenya do not seek the free treatment that American taxpayers already are funding.

The study, which will cost U.S. taxpayers $228,147, seeks to encourage Kenyan homosexuals, including prostitutes, to avail themselves of the AIDS treatment known as antiretroviral therapy (ART)–and to continue taking it once they start.

“Although men who have sex with men (MSM) are at very high risk for HIV globally, this group has only recently become an important focus of national HIV/AIDS programs in sub-Saharan Africa,” the project description says.

“While it is clear that antiretroviral therapy (ART) can reduce AIDS-related morbidity and mortality and prevent sexual transmission from HIV-infected MSM, little is known about antiretroviral adherence and barriers to care among African MSM.”

Researchers say they have worked with male prostitutes on the Kenyan coast since 2005 and have found “significant disparities” among people who seek treatment and continue with the therapy, partly due to “stigma and social isolation.”

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