Research on vulnerable populations considered most-at-risk for HIV in Jamaica - 5 reports
C-Change carried out four research studies and a mapping assessment to inform the national response to HIV and AIDS in Jamaica. The studies focused on groups considered highly vulnerable to HIV infection: sex workers, men who have sex with men (MSM), and young women and men involved in cross-generational sexual relationships. Some of the main findings of each study are outlined below. The finding are also informing interventions currently being implemented in Jamaica.
This study defines cross-generational sex as sexual behavior between two people who are at least 10 years apart in age. It found widespread perceived norms of infidelity, concurrent sexual partnerships, and acceptance or indifference to these kinds of relationships. Key motivators for participating in these relationships were found to be sexual gratification and emotional and financial support.
The study found high levels of layered stigma by health staff toward clients who are sex workers or MSM, and who are also HIV positive. Almost half of clinical health providers reported fear of HIV transmission while performing basic clinical procedures. Male sex workers were significantly more likely to report having experienced stigma and discrimination in health settings than female sex workers. The aim of the study is to inform SBCC interventions for these sectors.
The study found a pervasive social norm of MSM-directed stigma and discrimination, across interpersonal relationships, institutional environments, and in the larger community. MSM most commonly experienced name-calling, but also experienced non-verbal stigma and physical attacks. Impacts included depression and suicidal thoughts, fear of verbal and physical attacks, frustration with hiding one’s life, anger, and acts of retaliation.
This study investigated the best way to reach most-at-risk populations (MARPs) through social media channels. It found that segmentation of sub-populations is needed, as each has different levels of access to, and preferences for, communication channels, social media sites, and the type of health information they find useful.
This assessment used a checklist to map a range of supportive services in public as well as private health facilities that are considered to be MARP-friendly.