221894 “I'm coping the best way I know how” – Resiliency among HIV-positive young men of color who have sex with men (YMCSM) in the Bronx NY

Monday, November 8, 2010 : 12:45 PM - 1:00 PM

Candia Richards-Clarke, MPH , Bronx AIDS Services, Bronx, NY
Jessica Adams-Skinner, MPH, EdD , Mailman School of Public Health, HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at the NYS Psychiatric Institution and Columbia University, New York, NY
Brad Cauthen, MSW , Bronx AIDS Services, Bronx, NY
Donna Futterman, MD , Adolescent AIDS Program, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Elizabeth Bruce, MD , Adolescent AIDS Program/Children's Hospital, Montefiore Medical Center, Bronx, NY
Elizabeth Kelvin, PhD , Epidemiology and Biostatistics Program, CUNY School of Public Health at Hunter College, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York, NY
Background: In many Latino, African-American, and Caribbean communities in the Bronx, traditional male images are shaped by religion, heterosexism, hyper-masculinity, and sexual conquest. Given these cultural influences, YMCSM must carefully negotiate disclosure of their sexual identity and HIV-positive status. Disclosure can sometimes be traumatic, yet YMCSM demonstrate tremendous resilience in their ability to cope successfully with their HIV serostatus, and by setting future goals.

Methods: We conducted 20 in-depth interviews with HIV+ YMCSM participating in an outreach and retention in care program in the Bronx. Using a modified grounded theory approach, we explored YMCSM coming out experiences, outreach/retention programs' role in facilitating this process, sexual partner selection, and partnerships over time. Results: YMCSM reported they coped with their HIV status through meditation, journal writing, prayer, listening to and composing music, optimistic thinking, attending support groups, and keeping their medical appointments. Most (65%) expressed the desire to have children in the future, and of these (69%) expressed interest in marriage. About half expressed interest in professional careers, 25% in the Arts, and 20% had short-term goals like attending college, obtaining their GED, or finding a steady job. Only one participant reported no future goals. Some YMCSM also indicated their outreach/retention programs assisted with disclosure and coping.

Conclusions: The resilience YMCSM exhibit can provide practitioners with understandings of how these youth overcome adversity, the role of protective factors in facilitating this process, and how that knowledge can be used to enhance strengths and build the positive aspects of their lives.

Learning Areas:
Advocacy for health and health education
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Assess two main areas of resiliency - coping and making future plans - described by YMSM of color participating in a HRSA/SPNS initiative in the Bronx, NY

Keywords: HIV/AIDS, Adolescent Health

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Principal Investigator on the Outreach, Care, and Prevention to Engage HIV Seropositive Young MSM of Color study, Special Projects of National Significance (SPNS), a HRSA Demonstration Project that was funded from 2004 to 2010, which is the basis of the preentation.
Any relevant financial relationships? Yes

Name of Organization Clinical/Research Area Type of relationship
Bronx AIDS Services, Inc HIV Prevention Services Employment (includes retainer)

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.