Stigma, discrimination, and sexual risk behavior among gay and bisexual men in the US military
Wednesday, November 6, 2013
: 8:42 a.m. - 8:54 a.m.
Background: Stigma and discrimination are common topics for investigation in research on gay and bisexual men's (GBM) sexual behavior. However, there is limited evidence about the role of these factors in driving sexual behavior among GBM in the military, particularly when considering the unique role of discrimination within the military. Methods: We recruited an internet-based sample of current and former LGBT members of the US military. A sample of 77 HIV-negative/unknown GBM reported being sexually active with casual male partners within the prior three months and completed measures of sexual behavior, internalized homophobia (IH), and sexual orientation-based discrimination within and outside of the military. Results: We found no demographic differences in the two discrimination scales; single men and those who had served actively within the past year reported higher levels of IH. The two measures of discrimination were significantly correlated (r=0.69), but both were uncorrelated with IH. We fit a series of models predicting sexual risk (number of casual partners, number of unprotected anal acts, and proportion of anal acts that were unprotected) adjusting for relationship status and whether or not participants were recently active duty. Military-based discrimination emerged as the only predictor of increased sexual risk across models (p=.005, p=.05, p=.09, respectively). Conclusions: The sexual risk of GBM in the military may be directly impacted by overt acts of discrimination experienced within the military. This discrimination may be well-targeted by structural interventions that may have a significant impact on reducing HIV risk among this unique population of GBM.
Chronic disease management and prevention
Diversity and culture
Public health or related public policy
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences
Identify differences between internalized homophobia and discrimination in their impact on sexual risk.
Describe the extent to which sexual risk is influenced by military-specific versus general sexual orientation discrimination.
Keyword(s): Sexual Risk Behavior, Gay Men
Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a fifth-year doctoral student in psychology who has been working in the area of HIV and LGBT health research for more than eight years. I am currently an NIMH predoctoral fellow and work as a data analyst at the Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training where I manage data and conduct analyses for several large, federally-funded research projects.
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.