Does HIV matter to MSM in Buenos Aires, Argentina?
Background: To determine the level of importance that HIV has for men who have sex with men (MSM).
Methods: Seventy-three men participated in eight focus groups, which were conducted to explore factors related to HIV transmission among MSM in Buenos Aires, Argentina. The focus groups were dichotomized by age, serostatus, and level of education. Among the factors explored were the importance of HIV and HIV-prevention in the life of these men.
Results: The data revealed that for these men, there were other factors in life that were more important than HIV. These included their economic and work situation, emotional and sexual fulfillment, and family. The men considered that the concerns and worries of MSM are the same as those of others, regardless of sexual orientation. To these concerns, however, are added the acceptance of sexual orientation to oneself, one’s family, and eventually, some discriminatory situations in work or educational settings.
HIV-positive participants reported that HIV became important to them only after having been diagnosed. Only a few of the HIV-negative participants reported an interest in HIV, due primarily to having someone close to them that was infected or other direct experience with HIV that affected their prevention or testing habits.
Conclusions: In general, HIV prevention interventions have been directed at MSM that are already motivated or interested in decreasing their risk of infection. These findings highlight the need to develop other ways of reaching MSM taking into consideration this lack of interest observed in HIV prevention. Community interventions should be developed that augment the importance of HIV for MSM. The increased concern for HIV infection that seems to accompany HIV testing could provide opportunities for intervention. Furthermore, broadening testing, possibly through rapid testing in friendly sites, may also be helpful.
-Abstract available at link below-