HIV prevalence among men who have sex with men (also known as MSM) in Malawi differs significantly between rural and urban settings – ranging from 4.1% in the northern city, Mzuzu, to 24.5% in rural Mulanje.
Previous studies of men who have sex with men in Malawi have tended to focus on the capital Lilongwe and Blantyre, the country’s second largest city.
In order to examine how HIV prevention and care strategies for men who have sex with men should respond to local contexts, HIV testing and a socio-behavioural survey of more than 2,450 men who have sex with men were carried out between 2011 and 2014, in seven Malawian districts.
While prevalence among men who have sex with men was high in Lilongwe and Blantyre areas – at 17.7% and 12.5% respectively – the highest HIV prevalence was in the rural and agricultural settings of Mulanje and Chikwawa (20.5%), and in the tourist and lake settings of Mangochi (22.4%) and Nkhata Bay (20.6%).
In line with UNAIDS Fast-Track Cities action plan, Malawi’s current national strategic plan commits to targeting both Lilongwe and Blantyre, but these findings suggest other districts must not be forgotten when implementing HIV programmes for men who have sex with men. Read more via Avert