ABSTRACT

In Ghana, Africa, there are high rates of HIV infection in two populations: female sex workers (FSW), 11.1 percent: and men who have sex with men (MSM), 17.5 percent. Both groups are stigmatized and face discrimination in daily life because underlying gender norms and legal prohibitions against sex work and same-sex relationships. FSWs and MSM in Ghana experience significant barriers to social acceptance and access to services.

Given the high levels of discrimination experienced by these populations, an mHealth intervention was piloted in 2008; Text Me! Flash Me! Call Me! HelpLine. Individuals can SMS, “flash,” or call nurse counselors seven days a week with health or psychological concerns. This service now reaches more than 3,500 people annually with anonymous HIV prevention, care and treatment and mental health support.