Money, power and HIV: Economic influences and HIV among men who have sex with men in sub-Saharan Africa

Document Type

Article (peer-reviewed)

Publication Date



Despite consistent evidence, effective interventions and political declarations to reduce HIV infections among men who have sex with men (MSM), coverage of MSM programmes in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) remains low. Punitive legal frameworks and hostile social circumstances and inadequate health systems further contribute to the high HIV burden among MSM in SSA. The authors use the Modified Social Ecological Model to discuss economic influences in relation to HIV and MSM in SSA. Nigerian, South African and Ugandan case studies are used to highlight economic factors and considerations related to HIV among MSM. The authors argue that criminalisation of consensual sexual practices among adults increases the frequency of human rights violations contributing to the incidence of HIV infections. Furthermore, marginalisation and disempowerment of MSM limits their livelihood opportunities, increases the prevalence of sex work and drug use and limits financial access to HIV services. Sexual and social networks are complex and ignoring the needs of MSM results in increased risks for HIV acquisition and transmission to all sexual partners with cumulative economic and health implications. The authors recommend a public health and human rights approach that employs effective interventions at multiple levels to reduce the HIV burden among MSM and the general population in SSA.


PMID: 26050380