American Indian gay, bisexual and two-spirit men: a rapid assessment of HIV/AIDS risk factors, barriers to prevention and culturally-sensitive intervention.

Published: November 3, 2010

Abstract

Epidemiological data indicate that HIV and AIDS are disproportionately affecting American Indians. Specific to American Indian men identifying as gay, bisexual, two-spirit or who have same-sex experiences, this study assessed HIV-risk behaviours and barriers to testing, prevention and treatment efforts. A rapid assessment model was utilised as an indigenous-supporting research design. Rigour and thoroughness were achieved via multiple validation procedures. Central themes surrounding barriers to HIV prevention included social discrimination, low self-esteem and substance use. Findings suggest the underutilisation of condoms due to ineffective placement and limited availability in popular locations among gay, bisexual and two-spirit individuals. Participants indicated that HIV testing is occurring less frequently and that testing was not available after hours or weekends. Barriers to treatment included a mistrust of the current healthcare system, a perceived lack of support from the Indian Health Service for AIDS care and a lack of transportation to healthcare appointments. Lastly, participants discussed and supported culturally-sensitive treatment services. This study calls attention to the value of an American Indian-specific HIV/AIDS service organisation, the presence of indigenous service providers in the community and culturally-sensitive healthcare providers.

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