The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA

5181.0: Wednesday, November 13, 2002 - 3:00 PM

Abstract #40338

Is there a rift developing between HIV-seropositive and HIV-seronegative men in the gay community?

Richard J. Wolitski, PhD1, Achintya Dey1, Jeffrey T. Parsons, PhD2, and Cynthia A. Gomez, PhD3. (1) BIRB, DHAP, NCHSTP, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Road (E-37), Atlanta, GA 30333, 404 639-1939,, (2) Psychology Department, Hunter College of the City University of New York, 695 Park Avenue, New York, NY 10021, (3) Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California - San Francisco, 74 New Montgomery Street, Suite 400, San Francisco, CA 94105

Most studies of discrimination toward persons living with HIV have focused on the general community and have not examined attitudes within the gay community. We report on the beliefs of 206 HIV-seropositive men who have sex with men (MSM) about their treatment by HIV-seronegative MSM. Participants were recruited in 1998 from community settings in New York City and San Francisco. More than half (61%) were men of color; they ranged in age from 21 to 62 years (M=37.5 , SD=7.7). All participants completed a self-administered questionnaire that measured physical and mental health, sexual and drug-use practices, and psychological constructs. Six items (alpha=. 79) measured on a 5-point scale (1=Strongly Disagree to 5=Strongly Agree) assessed participants’ perceptions about their treatment by HIV-seronegative MSM (e.g., “HIV negative men judge you if they find out that you are positive.”). High levels of agreement with individual items (36% to 64%) and the overall scale score (M=3.4, SD=0.7) indicate that a substantial proportion of HIV-seropositive MSM perceive a split in the gay community that is defined by serostatus. Beliefs regarding this rift were modestly correlated with depression (r=.23, p < .001), anxiety (r=.15, p < .05), and loneliness (r=.16, p < .05) but were not significantly associated with HIV transmission risk. These findings indicate that there is a need to better understand relationships between HIV-seropositive and seronegative men in the gay community and to buffer the negative effects of stigma on the mental health of persons living with HIV.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Mental Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

Gay and Bisexual Men's Health

The 130th Annual Meeting of APHA