In Australia, HIV continues to be transmitted through sexual contact between men. In 2017, 63% of the total new HIV infections were among men who have sex with men.
It is essential for this affected population to access care and prevention and to remain engaged in care in order to reduce the community viral load and reduce the number of new infections and HIV-related comorbidities. (See Adherence support)
The 2012 Global Men’s Health and Rights Study found that men who have sex with men encounter barriers to access to treatment and prevention at different levels. At an institutional or systemic level, men who have sex with men often encounter stigma, criminalisation of homosexuality, and discrimination. In many cases, they find that they cannot bring themselves to disclose their sexual behaviour to health-care providers, which leads them to delay HIV testing and accessing treatment.
At community and individual levels, access to sustainable housing and income and connection with the gay community play essential roles in facilitating access to services and care for this group.
Nurses can be integral to facilitating access to services and treatment at comprehensive health services that are welcoming and men who have sex with men (MSM)-friendly (non-judgmental) and include safe spaces to meet other MSM. See https://stipu.nsw.gov.au/stigma/becoming-more-gay-friendly-in-your-practice/