‘The Devil has entered you’: A qualitative study of Men Who Have Sex With Men (MSM) and the stigma and discrimination they experience from healthcare professionals and the general community in Bosnia and Herzegovina

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Stojisavljevic, Stela ; Djikanovic, Bosiljka ; Matejic, Bojana (2017)
  • Publisher: Public Library of Science
  • Journal: PLoS ONE, volume 12, issue 6 (issn: 1932-6203, eissn: 1932-6203)
  • Related identifiers: pmc: PMC5462409, doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0179101
  • Subject: Medical Doctors | Anthropology | Research Article | Cultural Anthropology | Sociology | Social Discrimination | Human Families | Professions | Medicine | Men WHO Have Sex with Men | Homosexuals | Religion | Q | Population Groupings | R | Physicians | People and Places | Social Sciences | Science | Sexuality Groupings | Medicine and Health Sciences | Health Care Providers | Health Care

Men who have sex with men (MSM) are often exposed to unequal treatment in societies worldwide as well as to various forms of stigma and discrimination in healthcare services. Bosnia and Herzegovina (B&H) is a postconflict developing country located in Southeast Europe and the Western Balkans, where little is known about the experiences of MSM regarding their communities and interactions with healthcare services. The aim of this study was to explore the types of experiences MSM face and to assess the level of stigma and discrimination they are exposed to in this setting. We conducted twelve in-depth face-to-face interviews with MSM who were 16 to 45 years old and residing in B&H. The main findings indicated that they all experienced various levels of stigma, discrimination, prejudice and inequities in treatment and attitudes from different segments of society, including the health care sector, that prevented them from fully developing their human and health potential. Additionally, these experiences were adversely related to opportunities to receive good quality health care services due to the insufficiently educated and old-fashioned health professionals who sometimes believed in black magic practices. The findings present numerous opportunities for educational trainings and structural reform to create a society that provides and guarantees equal opportunities for all.
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