In several African countries, men who have sex with men (MSM) are becoming visible, as a result of which they are now victims of human rights violations. This has a negative effect on their ability to access services targeted at human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevention and care. The main objective of this study was to document the experiences of social oppression among MSM in Lagos State, Nigeria.
Simple random sampling was used to select three of the seven local government areas in Lagos State that had community centers. Snowball sampling was used to recruit 291 participants. The survey instrument was a pretested questionnaire. The results were presented as means and percentages. Univariate, bivariate, and multivariate analysis was carried out at P<0.05.
The mean age of the participants was 25.3±4.6 years, and the majority (66.0%) were currently single and not in a steady relationship. Half of the men self-identified as gay and about 48% as bisexual. Alcohol use occurred in 56.7% of the respondents, about a quarter (25.8%) smoked cigarettes, and 11.0% reported using hard drugs. The commonest acts of human rights violation and or violence reported were aggression 35.7%, alienation 29.9%, verbal abuse 19.2%, physical abuse 17.9%, rape by a man 16.8%, and psychological abuse 20.3%. The predictors of human rights violation were level of education (adjusted odds ratio 2.6, P=0.019), marital status (adjusted odds ratio 2.3, P=0.005), and sexual orientation (adjusted odds ratio 1.9, P=0.017). For physical and sexual abuse, MSM who consumed alcohol and were homosexual/transgender were at risk.
This study showed that a high proportion of MSM had experienced various forms of human rights violation and abuse as a result of their sexual orientation/identity. There is a need to document and quantify these happenings, which can serve as an advocacy tool for reform.