African American men have the highest rates of HIV in the USA, and research has shown that stigma, mistrust of health care, and other psychosocial factors interfere with optimal engagement in care with this population.
In order to further understand reducing stigma and other psychosocial issues among African American men, we conducted qualitative interviews and focus groups with African American men in two metropolitan areas in the USA: Chicago and Seattle. We examined transcripts for relationships across variables of stigma, anonymity, self-identity, and space within the context of HIV.
Our analysis pointed to similarities between experiences of stigma across the two cities and illustrated the relationships between space, isolation, and preferred anonymity related to living with HIV. The men in our study often preferred that their HIV-linked identities remain invisible and anonymous, associated with perceived and created isolation from physical community spaces. This article suggests that our health care and housing institutions may influence preferences for anonymity.
We make recommendations in key areas to create safer spaces for African American men living with HIV and reduce feelings of stigma and isolation.
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- 1Department of Medical Social Sciences, Northwestern University, Chicago, IL, USA.
- 2School of Urban Public Health, Hunter College, City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY, USA.
- 3Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Box 359931, 325 9th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98104, USA.
- 4Department of Global Health, University of Washington, Box 359931, 325 9th Ave, Seattle, WA, 98104, USA. email@example.com.
- J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2015 Dec;2(4):548-55. doi: 10.1007/s40615-015-0103-1. Epub 2015 Apr 1.
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