Impact of perceived HIV stigma within men who have sex with men community on mental health of seropositive MSM

AIDS Care. 2017 Jan;29(1):118-124. doi: 10.1080/09540121.2016.1201190. Epub 2016 Jun 27.


Emerging evidence has suggested that seropositive men who have sex with men (MSM) do not only face biased treatment from the general public but also from members of the MSM community. We conceptualized such biases perpetuated within the MSM community as human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) in-group stigma. This study examined the pathways by which perceived HIV in-group stigma impacted the mental health of seropositive MSM in Hong Kong. Internalized HIV stigma, serostatus disclosure concerns, and negative reactions towards HIV stigma were hypothesized as intermediate factors. Based on 100 Chinese seropositive MSM who were on antiretroviral therapy, results of a path analysis partially supported our hypotheses. Only negative reactions towards HIV stigma within the MSM community was a significant intermediate factor. The findings highlight the importance of understanding seropositive MSM's different reactions to HIV stigma perpetuated within the MSM community. On top of stigma reduction research, further research may explore ways that help seropositive MSM cope with HIV in-group stigma and foster resilience.

Keywords: HIV stigma; Hong Kong; men who have sex with men; mental health; path analysis.

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Adult
  • HIV Seropositivity / psychology*
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Hong Kong
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Mental Health*
  • Middle Aged
  • Perception
  • Social Marginalization
  • Social Stigma*