Online Program

Exploring vulnerability and protective factors to HIV sexual risk behaviors among young Asian/Pacific Islander MSM substance users and abusers in San Francisco, California

Monday, November 2, 2015

Nhan Truong, PhD, Center for Research, Evaluation and Environmental & Policy Change, My Brother's Keeper, Inc, Jackson, MS
Gavin Myers, MPH, JD, PL-AIDS Project, Providence, RI
Don Operario, PhD, Lifespan/Tufts/Brown Center for AIDS Research, Brown University, School of Public Health, Providence, RI
Kyung Hee Choi, PhD, UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, San Francisco, CA
Background: Epidemiological studies have urged for the prioritization of African American and Hispanic men who have sex with men (MSM) in research and public health practice, due to disproportionate HIV rates in these populations. By contrast, researchers and health providers have paid less attention to vulnerabilities (e.g., substance use/abuse) to HIV infection among Asian and Pacific Islander (API) MSM.

Methods: The qualitative study used secondary in depth interviews from 30 API MSM substance users and abusers in San Francisco, CA to explore how drugs/drug use is viewed among API MSM, how drug use influences HIV sexual risk behaviors, and protective factors from HIV risk in this population. Interview topics included racial/sexual identity, community involvement, sexual behavior, substance use, and personal beliefs about HIV vulnerability. Grounded theory was utilized to identify patterns/themes in interview transcripts.

Results: Participants (ages 18-29) consisted of Vietnamese, Thai, Chinese, Japanese, Filipino, and Indian MSM. Four themes emerged from the interviews. Vulnerabilities to HIV-related themes were: (1) Asian American masculinities/sexual identity, and (2) challenges to assimilation. Themes involving protective factors were: (1) controlling personal risk, and (2) boundaries with using "hard" and "low class" drugs.

Conclusions: Findings suggest the influence of API cultural traditions and values in both engaging in and prevention from engaging in unprotected anal intercourse among API MSM substance users and abusers. The findings open new research avenues for advancing our knowledge on HIV risk factors among API MSM. Implications for HIV interventions culturally tailored to API MSM substance users and abusers are discussed.

Learning Areas:

Diversity and culture
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe one factor that contributes to HIV sexual risk behaviors in Asian/Pacific Islander men who have sex with men substance users and abusers. Describe one factor that protects Asian/Pacific Islander men who have sex with men substance users from engaging in HIV sexual risk behaviors.

Keyword(s): Asian and Pacific Islanders, HIV/AIDS

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have a PhD and years of experience conducting research in the realm of HIV. Specifically, focusing on psychosocial and environmental factors that contribute to HIV sexual risk behaviors and infection in ethnic minority MSM. Among my scientific interests has been the use of intersectionality and minority stress perspectives to advance our knowledge of HIV sexual risk and testing behaviors and HIV intervention programs specifically tailored for African American and Asian/Pacific Islander MSM populations.
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.

Back to: 3364.0: HIV and Substance Use