Date of Conferral





Public Health


Paige Wermuth


Men who have sex with men (MSM) are at high risk of HIV in Nigeria. However, African countries like Nigeria, Botswana, Mali, and Mozambique have laws that prohibit homosexuality, making it a punishable crime in these countries. For example, the Nigerian government signed the anti-gay law in 2014. Laws like these affect the health status and outcomes among Nigerian MSM. The purpose of this qualitative study was to examine the influence criminalization of homosexuality has on the willingness to test for HIV among MSM in Abuja, Nigeria. Guided by the socio-political theory (SP) as the theoretical framework, a qualitative approach was designed to understand HIV testing perception among MSM since after the criminalization of homosexuality in Nigeria. Interviews were conducted among 15 MSM to understand how the law created factors that influence their decision to test for HIV and their quality of life. Data gathered from the face to face interview was coded based on the research questions. Further analysis was done using thematic to develop themes that addressed the research questions. Findings revealed that anti-gay law influenced MSM to avoid HIV testing and disclosure. Additional themes revealed respondents’ perceptions on homosexual criminalization’s impact on healthcare access, fear of imprisonment, relationships, and psychological and physical fears. The research findings will help address the discrimination, social injustice, violence and human right violation MSM face in Nigeria. Through dissemination of these findings, positive social change will be achieved through increased HIV testing among MSM and improve HIV prevention programs aimed at MSM.