Homosexuality and its related health risks in Kilifi Town Council, Kilifi County, Kenya
Maina, Evah M.
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HIV/AIDS was originally referred to as “gay disease” because high numbers of initial patients were homosexuals. Understanding causes of homosexuality and related health risks is important in formulating MSM targeted behavioral interventions towards positive health outcomes. Men who have sex with men are in this category of key populations according to World Health Organization. This study’s main objective was to determine predisposing factors to homosexuality and its related health risks in Kilifi town council. Specific objectives were: to determine factors predisposing men to homosexuality, determine health risks among homosexuals and to establish health promotion and management services for MSM in Kilifi town council. This study used a descriptive cross-sectional design and snowballing sampling was used to reachMSM. The study population included MSM in Kilifi town council, both self-identified and non-self-identified. Data collection methods included self-administered questionnaires with MSM, 2 focused group discussions each with 12 participants and key informant interviews. The key informants were drawn from health care institutions providing MSM friendly services both in the private and the public health sector, and law enforcement agencies that ensure the safety of MSM in the community, CASCO, MSM representative and an NGO officer.Quantitative data analysis was conducted using IBMSPSS® 21.0. Chi- square values and cross tabulation were used to test the significance of the association between the dependent and independent variables. Qualitative data from FGDs and key informant interviews were transcribed and analyzed by thematic content analysis technique. Overall, 72 MSMaged between 18.0 to 58.0 years (mean age: 24. ±0.676 years) took part in the study.This study showed that homosexuality is as a result of socialization rather than biological causes. Majority of respondents(66.7%) cited choice as the reason they are homosexuals. Majority (88.9) cited homosexuality as a lifestyle, meaning it’s a decision they made. Peer pressure was the leading cause of homosexuality (58.3%), with friends (69.4%) being the primary people who introduced most homosexuals to the behavior. Watching pornography (69.4%) when growing up was a predisposing factor to homosexuality. Non condom use at 69.4%, multiple sexual partners (83.3%), drug abuse (91.7%), and discrimination (63.9%) are some of the health risks the homosexuals had. Health services were somewhat gay friendly (55.6%). Majority (80%) access health services from government facilities.In Chi-Square statistic, type of family setup is related to respondents watching pornography while growing up (p < 0.05).This study recommends policy formulation to enhance gay friendly comprehensive health service provision, MSM sexual reproductive health education and community and parental involvement to reduce number of boys who convert to homosexuality at some point in life.