248931 Theoretical understandings of alcohol use and abuse within the gay Latino community in San Francisco: A qualitative investigation

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Gabriel R. Galindo, DrPH, MPH, CHES , CAPS, UCSF, San Francisco, CA
Introduction: In San Francisco, Latinos represent 13% of the general population yet constitute 19% of new HIV transmissions. An estimated 82% of those HIV infections are among gay Latinos. The San Francisco Department of Public Health identified alcohol consumption as a significant driver for HIV transmission among gay Latinos. Limited research exist that incorporate theories of alcohol consumption within sexual minority populations. The aims of this study were to assess the sociocultural influences and impact of alcohol use within the local gay Latino community from a theoretical perspective.

Methods: Purposeful sampling was used to recruit participants who could speak about personal experiences with alcohol, perceptions of alcohol in the community, and the impact of alcohol on their social, sexual and familial relationships. In-depth interviews were conducted with 41 self-identified gay Latinos (ages 1845; mean = 28.5 years) between September 2010 and February 2011. Thematic content analysis of the transcribed interviews was conducted utilizing a constructed grounded theory approach.

Results: Three main themes were delineated relating to the aims of the study: (1) cultural norms within both gay and Latino communities encouraged alcohol use among the participants; (2) men used alcohol to cope with internalized homophobia, racism and social oppression; and (3) participants attributed alcohol use to specific undesirable health outcomes, including unprotected intercourse, depression and domestic violence.

Conclusions: The findings from this study expand on prevailing individual-level theories of the relationship between alcohol use and associated risk behaviors (e.g., the alcohol myopia theory and the alcohol expectancy theory) by contextualizing risk within the cultural and social norms of a specific community. Development of socioculturally appropriate community-level alcohol risk-reduction interventions, based on sound theoretical models of alcohol use, is needed for this marginalized population.

Learning Areas:
Assessment of individual and community needs for health education
Diversity and culture
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related education
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
1. List 2 alcohol consumption theories relevant to gay Latino communities. 2. Identify 3 health-related outcomes of alcohol consumption within gay Latinos. 3. Describe how social and cultural norms influence alcohol consumption among gay Latinos.

Keywords: Alcohol Use, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been in the field of HIV/ AIDS for over a decade and possess a wealth of experience in working with ethnoracial and sexual minority populations. I am currently I postdoc fellow with the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at UCSF, and my primary study is exploring outcomes of substance abuse among Latino men who have sex with men.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

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.