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A study conducted in some parts of Accra on homosexuality finds that 90% of adolescent men who have sexual activities with other men are Christians and 8% are Muslim, even though leaders of the two religious groups in Ghana have openly spoken against the practice.
The study by CareLinks Community Development and accessed on the Internet by ghanabusinessnews.com, was presented at the International AIDS Conference 2010 in Vienna, Austria.
According to the study, the subjects’ reported religion was 90% Christian and 8% Muslim. 1.4% were married to older MSM. 30% had their sexual debut with males who were up to 40 years older than them.
In the background to the study, the authors citing Dunton & Palberg, (1996), indicated that strong condemnation of homosexuality persists across Africa because the practice is considered incongruous to the customs and traditions of its people.
The areas covered in the study were Jamestown and Adabraka all suburbs of the capital Accra.
The study authored by Drah, Bright, N.F. Clement, J. Duodu, S. Benefour was initiated by the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA) to explore the current situation of the group it describes as ‘adolescent men who have sex with men’ (AMSM).
The objective of the study which was an exploratory one was to “identify the social characteristics of AMSM (below 18 years); identify the factors that influence the sexual behaviours of AMSM; determine their risk vulnerability behaviours and recommend appropriate interventions for preventing HIV infections.”
The study however, found that the mean age of the AMSM was 16.1. The youngest was 13 years old and the oldest was 17 years old. 69.8% were between ages 16 and 17 and 30.2% were between 13 years and 15 years.
The majority, it found had some education (78% basic/junior high, 13% secondary, 1% tertiary, 8% no education).
On their reasons for engaging in sex with other males, 70% of the respondents said they did it for money, 61% for pleasure, 5% for both money and pleasure and only one percent did for help from gay guy.
On transactional sex, 80.6% reported during the study of having ever received money/gifts in exchange for sex and 69.8% reported having given money/gift for sex with another man. 88% of AMSM had older Ghanaian and foreign sexual partners who were 1 to 48years older than them.
71.2% reported having had multiple sexual partners each week. 15% had 5-20 partners a week the study indicated.
And although, 98% identified modes of HIV transmission, 88% of the respondents did not use condom consistently, the study found and 25.2% used alcohol or marijuana, it said.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi