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Wednesday, 06 June 2018 14:41

Sharing results with Kenyan stakeholders

by Larry Gelmon

In late April 2018, two EHPSA studies held a joint dissemination meeting in Nairobi, Kenya to present findings from EHPSA research on HIV prevention for MSM. This was a special meeting hosted by the Kenyan Key Populations Technical Working Group.

Almost fifty people attended, including representatives from the Ministry of Health (Helgar Musyoki, the Head of the Key Populations Section in NASCOP, among others), County AIDS Coordinators from several counties including Nairobi and Kisumu, representatives from a number of MSM CBOs, representatives from some other implementing agencies, and project staff from the two projects.

Presentations from the Anza Mapema and TRANSFORM studies highlighted their main findings: most seriously a high prevalence of both HIV and STIs. The Nairobi study was able to raise a study cohort of more than 600 MSM who had not previously come into contact with any of the MSM/LGBTI organisations or health care services. The Kisumu study was more successful than most in putting high risk men on PrEP and helping them to maintain adherence. They attributed this to the other well-established activities that their centre provides, so that their clients are already improving their health-seeking behaviour even before the offer of PrEP is made. Both studies found evidence of risky behaviour, as well as high levels of depression, other mental health issues, and drug/alcohol abuse. High prevalence of both Hepatitis B and Herpes 2 infection were found in both populations.

In her closing remarks, Ms Musyoki noted that several of the issues raised by the two projects needed to be considered by the government and could mean the need for policy briefs and considerations of changes in policy. These included the large percentage of MSM who had not previously been in contact with MSM organisations, the high rate of undiagnosed STIs, issues of PrEP acceptance and adherence, the possible need for Hepatitis B and HPV vaccination in high-risk KPs and others.

It should be noted that the meeting itself - researchers presenting their results to policy makers, government, implementers, other stakeholders and the community – was exactly what the EHPSA project had envisioned would be one of the primary outcomes of the supported research.

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