The impact of stigma on the self-care behaviors of HIV-positive gay men striving for normalcy

J Assoc Nurses AIDS Care. 2007 May-Jun;18(3):23-32. doi: 10.1016/j.jana.2007.03.005.


Since the beginning of the AIDS epidemic in 1981, persons diagnosed with HIV have been the target of stigma. This is particularly significant for HIV-positive gay men who are additionally stigmatized because of negative societal views of homosexuality. The purpose of this grounded theory study was to examine the impact of stigma on the self-care behaviors of HIV-positive gay men. A theoretical sample of 20 HIV-positive gay men participated in this study-15 individual interviews and a focus group with 5 men. These men responded to HIV/AIDS stigma by using various stigma management strategies. Striving for normalcy emerged as the central theme. Participants saw HIV status disclosure as the main route to an affirming social support system and ultimately as a way to resolve any incongruence between self-view and reflected appraisals. Clinical implications, limitations, and suggestions for future research are discussed.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological*
  • Adult
  • HIV Infections / nursing
  • HIV Infections / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Psychological
  • Prejudice*
  • Self Care / psychology*
  • Social Support
  • United States