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International Health

Human Rights Violations and HIV Among MSM

Mothers and children from Jumla, Nepal

Associate Professor Luke Mullany has begun work on a new project to investigate human rights violations against men who have sex with men (MSM) and the effect those abuses have on health behaviors and outcomes such as drug use and STD prevalence. Assistant Professor at the Hopkins School of Medicine, and Mullany’s former advisee, Dr. Sonal Singh will lead the investigation located in the Kathmandu metro area.

The Blue Diamond Society—Nepal’s only community-based organization providing counseling for MSM across the country—will help recruit study participants. In-depth interviews will help researchers develop a survey protocol that will collect information such as HIV risk assessment, human rights violation, and levels of anxiety and depression. An anonymous HIV test is also being administered. 

Stigma and discrimination against MSM is widespread, but are only two of the many contributing factors driving the HIV epidemic among this marginalized group. Findings should help elucidate the situation, strengthen advocacy efforts of human rights groups, and provide objective population-based information to guide policy.

Infant and child feeding practices
Since last summer, MHS candidate Laura R. Seckel has been an intern at the Nepal Family Health Program II (NFHP), a collaborative project of the Government of Nepal, John Snow International (JSI) and local partners. Laura is part of a study on infant and young child feeding practices in three different regions of the country. Findings from the study will help the government in its efforts to address the high prevalence of stunting among children. The project’s qualitative research includes in-depth interviews and focus groups with female community health volunteers. 

--Brandon Howard, May 2010