Do family and friendship networks protect against the influence of discrimination on mental health and HIV risk among Asian and Pacific Islander gay men?

AIDS Educ Prev. 2004 Feb;16(1):84-100. doi: 10.1521/aeap.


This study examined the influence of experiences of racism, homophobia, and anti-immigrant discrimination on depressive symptoms and HIV risk among a sample of Asian and Pacific Islander (A&PI) gay men (N = 192). In addition, the potential protective influences of conversations about discrimination with gay friends and with family were explored. These men reported high rates of depressive symptoms (45% above the clinical cutoff on the Center for Epidemiological Studies-Depression scale) as well as HIV risk behavior (31% reporting at least one episode of unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) in the last 3 months). Controlling for income, ethnicity, age, and relationship status, experiences of racism were associated with higher levels of depressive symptoms, and experiences of anti-immigrant discrimination were associated with higher rates of secondary-partner UAI. Conversations about discrimination with gay friends and with family were associated with lower levels of primary-partner UAI. The combination of low levels of discussion with family about discrimination with high levels of experienced discrimination (of all three types) was associated with higher rates of UAI. Implications for mental health and HIV prevention interventions for A&PI gay men are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Asia / ethnology
  • Communication
  • Depressive Disorder / prevention & control*
  • Depressive Disorder / psychology
  • Family / psychology*
  • Friends / psychology*
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Pacific Islands / ethnology
  • Prejudice*
  • Risk-Taking
  • Social Support