The qualitative
subsample differed in that they were more likely to be in the medium or high
stigma classes, to have experienced suicidal ideation (46%), to have had an HIV
test (75%), and were older on average than the quantitative sample.

Qualitative findings
revealed that stigma resulted in isolation, emotional distress, avoidant
behavior, enduring feelings of trauma and suicidal ideation. In 2014, Nigeria
passed a further law criminalising same-sex practices. MSM expressed having no
social support and nowhere to turn to for help.

“Anytime I’m
alone, I have the trauma in my head, every minute, it comes on and scares me
out… I don’t really go out. I hardly go out, even till now, I find it really
difficult for me to go places.”
(MSM)

“I feel like
dying that time because I don’t have money to do anything. I cannot go to my
village and tell them, see what happened so that they will help me with another
money. You understand, because if you go to the village, ah, see, see, see,
they will hear, you understand, so I feel like, in fact, I don’t know, I feel
like hanging myself then.”
(MSM, after a
homophobic attack)

Participants were fearful of getting tested for HIV
and disclosing same-sex practices in public health facilities. Many men felt
safe seeking HIV/STI testing and treatment services at the MSM-friendly clinic
set up as part of the study. They were often referred by fellow MSM who had
advised that it was a safe space, highlighting the importance of peer networks.

“Whenever I’m
sick, and I need to go to the hospital, I used to be scared. What if this
doctor find out that I’m gay? So I wouldn’t go to the hospital. I would just
stay at home and be fine.”
(MSM)

“Is an MSM
that told me that and gave me the courage. He counseled me very well, please go
and know your status, and I tell him don’t worry I will go. The next day I went
[to the MSM research clinic] and I do my test. He told me that am HIV
positive.”
(MSM)

Participants found that the research clinic became a
site of psychosocial support, a space to meet other MSM and to get educated
about HIV. Some participants expressed a desire for these psychosocial services
to be expanded to provide more support for MSM in need.

“We have a lot
of victims of suicide, we do. We have a lot of victims of depression, people
who are depressed and they need to talk to either a psychologist or someone who
can provide a psychosocial counseling for people. This would also help build
self-esteem, but the issue of support group would also go a long way of helping
this.”
(MSM)