Experiences of HIV-positive gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men residing in relatively rural areas

Randolph Hubach, Brian Dodge, Vanessa Schick, William D. Ramos, Debby Herbenick, Michael J. Li, Thea Cola, Michael Reece

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10 Scopus citations


Most previous studies of the sexual behaviour of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men living with HIV are based on samples of men recruited within relatively urban and suburban areas of the USA. The aim of the present study was to explore the potential challenges associated with HIV-related stigma and residing in a relatively rural area. We conducted a qualitative study based in south-central Indiana, a relatively rural area of the USA. Twenty-three HIV-positive gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men, aged 21–48 years, were interviewed on topics regarding community engagement, perceived HIV-related stigma, relationship formation, sexual behaviour and HIV status disclosure. Findings indicate HIV-related stigma is commonly reported at the interpersonal and community levels. Because of this, men face complex situations on how and when to disclose their HIV status to members of their social and sexual networks. Although many participants reported many challenges associated with relationship formation, all expressed a desire for romantic and/or sexual connections with other men and/or women. Results suggest that new programmatic approaches are necessary to inform the work of social service and medical providers on mechanisms to intervene and combat stigma and discrimination inherent in communities, programmes and policies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)795-809
Number of pages15
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 9 Aug 2015



  • HIV-related stigma
  • USA
  • men who have sex with men
  • sexual behaviour

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