The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA

3201.0: Monday, November 17, 2003 - 12:30 PM

Abstract #70212

Childhood sexual abuse and HIV risk among Latino gay men

Sonya Grant Arreola, PhD, MPH, Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, University of California, San Francisco, 74 New Montgomery, Suite 600, San Francisco, CA 94105, 415-554-9024, Sonya.Arreola@sfdph.org

Childhood sexual abuse (CSA) is strongly linked to risky sexual behaviors that increase risk for HIV. Latino gay men (LGM) are twice as likely to have experienced CSA as non-LGM and have a higher prevalence of HIV than White no-LGM. In spite of accurate perceptions of risk for HIV and intentions to practice safe sex, LGM have high levels of risky sexual behaviors. The goal of the present qualitative research was to uncover some fo the mechanisms explaining this relationship. Methods: Thirty five self-identified LGM between 20 and 40 years of age were recruited form local venues in the San Francisco Bay area, including bars, cafes, book stores, and clubs, and were invited to participate in 2-hour long in-depth individual interviews for a study on Latino menís sexuality. Results: Based on major themes expressed by participants, the findings show: 1) a homophobic environment in childhood, 2) CSA, and 3) silence (lack of recognition) regarding homosexuality and/or CSA, all contribute to internalized feelings of shame and worthlessness. This sense of worthlessness is strengthened and maintained through adulthood by continued implicit and explicit familial, social and political messages denigrating homosexuality and complicit silence regarding CSA. This sense of worthlessness interferes with LGMís intentions to practice safe sex. Conclusions: Findings highlight the need for focused interventions targeting sociocultural norms that sustain destructive negative attitudes about homosexuality and the silence regarding CSA that makes CSA possible while reinforcing LGMís internalized sense of blame.

Learning Objectives:

Keywords: Latino, Sexual Risk Behavior

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.

Latino Gay Men and HIV

The 131st Annual Meeting (November 15-19, 2003) of APHA