Self-stigma, especially around substance use, impedes HIV self-care among gay and bisexual men living with HIV who use drugs
A qualitative study sought to understand how internalised stigma affects HIV self-care among gay and bisexual men living with HIV who use substances. Men in this cohort experienced self-stigma stemming from multiple intersecting identities, including their HIV status, sexual orientation, race, effeminateness, poverty, and housing instability. Self-stigma around drug use was reported as the most burdensome stigma, as well as the largest barrier to HIV self-care.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2018, only 65% of gay and bisexual men living with HIV in the United States were consistently seen for HIV care appointments and only 57% were virally suppressed. Further, evidence shows that gay and bisexual men who use substances, especially stimulants, often have less than optimal adherence to HIV care and inconsistently access HIV services.
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