Challenges for the sexual health and social acceptance of men who have sex with men in Nigeria

Cult Health Sex. 2007 Mar-Apr;9(2):153-68. doi: 10.1080/13691050601040480.


Little research exists regarding men who have sex with men and sexual risk in Nigeria. Prior to the implementation of a targeted HIV/STI prevalence study, structured focus groups incorporating anonymous questionnaires were conducted with members of this population in secure locations in Nigeria. A purposive sample of men was recruited by word-of-mouth. Five focus groups were conducted with a total of 58 men. Mean age was 27 years (range 16-58); 60% had post-secondary education; 56% were employed full or part-time; 83% were Christian; 16% were Muslim; 66% self-identified as bisexual; 31% as homosexual. Participants' experiences were diverse, with ethnic, religious and class distinctions strongly structuring sexual expression. Same-sex community networks were hidden, with social activities taking place in non-commercial, private venues. Socially ostracized by culture, religion, and political will, the risks embodied within same-sex activity are high. For Nigeria--a nation culturally rich and religiously devout--the implications for public health policy are complex. However, these research findings suggest that immediate action is vital to mitigate the impacts of HIV and other STIs.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Cultural Characteristics
  • Focus Groups
  • Health Status*
  • Homosexuality / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Interpersonal Relations*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Narration
  • Nigeria
  • Social Alienation
  • Social Environment*
  • Stereotyping*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires