Health behaviors in the development and maintenance process of homosexual identity.

Published: February 10, 2011

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Health behaviors of men who have sex with men (MSM) affect their health status in many aspects. Rate of HIV infection among Thai male prostitutes in 2005 was 15.4%. Among these, 28.3% were MSM. Thirty percent of youth suicides were conducted by gays and lesbians.

OBJECTIVE: To explore the health behaviors related to the development and maintenance process of men who have sex with men.

MATERIAL AND METHOD: This was a qualitative study. The study population was MSM in Mukdahan province. The subjects were recruited gradually, by snowball sampling, until the required data were saturated. In-depth interviews and participant observations were performed over a period of 17 months. A triangulation technique was applied to check reliability of the data. Data were analyzed by content analysis and compared with the Troiden’s stages of development and maintenance process of homosexual identity.

RESULTS: Eleven Thai MSM were recruited and followed up. Health behaviors of them were different according to the stages of development and maintenance process regarding Troiden’s theory. Physical, psychological, social and sexual aspects of health behaviors were identified in various stages. It was found that many factors affect health behaviors of MSM. These include health promoting and undermining factors.

CONCLUSION: Health behaviors of MSM varied in each stage of development and maintenance of homosexual identity. Health promotion campaigns and policies for MSM should be designed accordingly.

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