Multiple dimensions of stigma and implications for HIV/AIDS interventions targeting black men who have sex with men
P. Wilson1, T. Moore2
1Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, Sociomedical Sciences, Brooklyn, United States, 2National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors, Washington, United States
Issues: Epidemiological data show staggering rates of new HIV infections among Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) in the United States (U.S.) and a high disease burden in this population. Interventions targeted toward BMSM are greatly needed in order to effectively combat the epidemic. However, stigma based in HIV/AIDS, sexuality, and gender roles thwart the reach and effectiveness of interventions and must be combated in order to see reductions in HIV incidence among BMSM.
Description: The National Alliance of State & Territorial AIDS Directors (NASTAD) conducted interviews with key stakeholders (health department staff, community leaders, and HIV/AIDS prevention practitioners) in order to document prevention activities directed toward BMSM. Seventy-one individual and small group interviews were conducted with participants in ten high HIV incidence states across the U.S.
Lessons learned: Stigma directed toward gay and bisexual Black men, HIV-positive BMSM, and effeminate BMSM are key barriers in implementing successful prevention strategies. These three types of stigma were observed both among BMSM and within the Black communities of which men are a part. Social marketing campaigns and large-scale community interventions are needed to highlight diversity that exists among BMSM and lower levels of stigma around gay-identified and HIV-positive BMSM, as well as those who do not conform to masculine gender role norms. Creating a social context in which the diverse groups of BMSM are accepted and included as a part of the larger Black community is crucial to reducing HIV in this population.
Next steps: Practitioners should draw upon existing social marketing campaigns and develop new intervention strategies in order to increase the Black community’s acceptance of diverse groups of BMSM. State and local health departments can spearhead strategies involving the use of media and culturally-appropriate messaging that highlight and normalize the presence of BMSM in communities across the U.S.
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