MSMs are often described as one of the most stigmatized and discriminated group of persons in Jamaica. The society is homophobic to the point of inflicting extreme physical violence on someone who may be perceived as being gay. This reality perpetuates the clandestine nature of the group.
MSMs stay connected through social networking through social media and specially arranged parties. Here they feel safe to be themselves, they meet new partners and, it is a comfortable, appropriate space to conduct BCC and IPC activities. MSMs fear HIV and AIDS and see the conditions as debilitating and physically disfiguring. Issues of trust, spur of the moment risk assessment, the need to seize the moment for sex when presented, incorrect and low self efficacy in condom use and finding a comfortable fitting condom were some of the barriers to condom use emerging. Breach of confidentiality, stigma and discrimination by health care professionals also affect the uptake of public health services by MSMs. Also emerging is that condom use is determined by the dominant partner – irrespective of the type of relationship or role the partner plays – in the relationship. The dominant partner is often older, more educated and earns more income.
The study indentified beliefs, knowledge, attitudes and social norms as factors to influence condom use and safer sexual behaviour. These factors can be leveraged in didactic and interactive BCC activities and mass media campaigns that address condom use. Some key message areas include correct condom use, types and size of condoms available, myths and misconceptions, risk perception.