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ID: 878

Type of submission: Oral

Conference track: Research

Topics: Harm Reduction Services and Service Provision; Key Populations and Harm Reduction

Presenting author: Lina Torossian

Presenting author biography:

No biography entered.

Harm reduction services for men who have sex with men who use/inject drugs: A qualitative-quantitative operational research involving key stakeholders and beneficiaries in Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia and Pakistan.

Ziad Mansour, Lina Torossian, Jacques Mokhbat, Nathalie Khazzaka, Racha Said, Chantal Sarkis, Elie Aaraj, Micheline Jreij Abou Chrouch, Patricia Haddad, Alexandra Ataya, Lina Brandt

Uptake of Harm Reduction services among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) who use/inject drugs in the Middles East and North Africa region is lower than desired. A thorough understanding of service users and providers’ perceptions is needed to design and implement effective HR programs.
Nine focus group discussions and 220 behavioral surveys targeting MSM who use/inject drugs, and 26 key informant interviews were completed as part of a qualitative-quantitative operational research conducted in Lebanon, Morocco, Tunisia, and Pakistan between November 2015 and January 2016.
Data was analyzed using a socio-ecological framework identifying service utilization and capturing factors facilitating or hindering HR services usage. Ethical approval was obtained from Sagesse University, Lebanon.
Perceptions regarding HR service provision differed among key informants and MSM.
Informants were positive an increased service utilization, increased safe drug and sexual practices and improved quality of life among MSM.
In contrast, MSM highlighted on the lack of catered needs as existing HR services targeted “addictive” drug users and injectors. As perceived by MSM, these services were located in urbanized settings where discrimination and resistance by police officers persisted, with cultural and social shame adding beneficiaries’ reluctance to service access.
Scale up of the existing HR services package should include basic health services and psychosocial support for MSM who use/inject drugs, coupled with increased advocacy towards HR services and innovative approaches to reach those.