Visibly Hidden: Rethinking BMSM & HIV Prevention

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Org: Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention
Date: 2007

The goal of this report is to provide an overview of the significant needs, barriers and service gaps for Black, gay, bisexual and straight identified African and Caribbean men who have sex with other men in Toronto.

The Black Coalition for AIDS Prevention (Black CAP) is currently creating a prevention campaign/intervention for BMSM living in Toronto.

The authors seek guide the creation and implementation of this targeted, Toronto-based HIV prevention initiative for gay, bisexual, and straight-identified Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) communities.

The authors suggest that this initiative should focus on:

  • Determining relevant and effective delivery methods of sexual health and HIV prevention education for BMSM.
  • Increasing understandings of the significant risks for HIV and STI (sexually transmitted infections) transmission among BMSM.
  • Creating culturally relevant and appropriate prevention interventions.
  • Increasing knowledge and awareness of sexual health and HIV-related issues within this community, as well as attempting to reduce HIV/AIDS-related stigma.

In the section about multiple barriers, specific mention is made about immigrants and refugees:

"Recent newcomers (immigrants and refugees) experience gaps in access to services caused by linguistic and cultural differences, placing these individuals in vulnerable positions that may lead to higher risk sexual choices. In Planned Parenthood's report Improving Access for Newcomer Youth (2005) both youth and service provider key informants noted that sexual health issues are foremost of concern for young newcomers. Services that are offered to newcomers often focus on status and immigration concerns or cultural adjustment and may not take into consideration the difficulties in adjustment related to sexual orientation issues. Some newcomers may not feel comfortable disclosing their orientation as MSM for fear of discrimination. This fear, often tied to a concern for confidentiality, is a common feeling for newcomers who access services offered by members of their communities of origin. For newcomers accessing LGBT-sensitive services outside of their community of origin, language barriers, cultural differences and discrimination are then issues. These BMSM are then forced to choose between services that meet their cultural or linguistic needs and those that address their sexual health and lifestyle concerns."

Download the report in PDF format (2 MB, 46 pages).