Structure, Agency, and Sexual Development of Latino Gay Men

Published: March 21, 2012

There is a high prevalence of childhood sexual abuse and HIV among Latino gay men, with limited proven HIV prevention interventions. This study used qualitative methods to explicate earlier findings showing differential health outcomes among Latino gay men who had no sex,voluntary, or forced sex before age 16. Analyses of in-depth interviews with 27 Latino gay men revealed that structural factors in childhood contribute to their developing sexuality by enhancing or inhibiting a sense of agency. Agency is essential for making decisions that are in line with their intentions to have healthy sexual lives. Findings suggest that interventions should focus on developing a sense of sexual agency among Latino gay men by (a) increasing their recognition of structural factors that contribute to feelings of worthlessness in order to relocate internalized blame and homophobia to external structural forces, (b)facilitating awareness of the social structural oppressions that lead to psychological and sexual risk in order to enhance their options for sexual health, and (c) shifting from individually focused constructions of sexual health to those that consider the structural factors that reduce agency and contribute to diminished sexual health among Latino gay men.
 

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