Gay and bisexual men account for about two-thirds (66%) of new HIV infections each year. This is due to social and structural barriers such as systemic stigma, discrimination, homophobia, poverty, and homelessness that make it difficult for this community to access HIV testing, treatment-care, and prevention services. For this we launched the Equalizer project to quill issues of stigma and discrimation, mental health, and advocating for change in the human rights situation of Gay, Bisexual, men who have sex with men living with HIV in Nigeria. The Equalizer project, as the name suggests, is part of the CHEVS mission towards Equalizing the Nigerian society through advocacy and education.
Even though there has been significant advances in HIV prevention and treatment but stigma and discrimination in healthcare settings are preventing some gay and bisexual men from knowing their HIV status, accessing treatment and benefitting from these advances. More HIV awareness, and treatment-care is needed to prevent new HIV infections and improve the health outcomes of gay and bisexual men living with HIV.
Through this project we advocate for the human rights, and well-being of GBQMSM living with HIV with focus on treatment literacy, legal empowerment, and support group organizing.
Since the inception of this project we have established 16 support groups across Nigeria for GBQMSM living with HIV to organize and support each other by providing a peer to peer psychosocial and treatment adherence support in order to achieve better treatment outcome. Also, we are focused on strengthening the capacity of healthcare providers to provide stgman free and gender sensitive health care service for gay and Bisexual men in other to achieve better health outcome.
Our theory of change is rooted in an acknowledgement that when structured properly and administered strategically, education and safe spaces are powerful drivers of social and institutional change in HIV treatment, care and support for Key population communities.