‘I don't care if you think I'm gay … that won't make me either promiscuous or HIV positive’: HIV, stigma, and the paradox of the gay men's sexual health clinic - An exploratory study

Elsevier, Applied Nursing Research, Volume 47, June 2019
Watts J., O'Byrne P.
Young gay men are affected by HIV. Due to a lack of studies on these males, and that previous research notes youth's minimal healthcare seeking, we recruited young gay men at a gay men's STI testing clinic to explore their perceptions of care. Eight men participated in semi-structured interviews. Our results identified that, while our participants experienced stigma in some interactions, particularly when healthcare workers emphasized the probability of contracting HIV for gay men, overall they reported positive experiences with healthcare providers, particularly at the gay men's STI clinic. The gay men's STI clinic diminishes stigma and promotes HIV testing among a group of gay male youth who are affected by HIV, while its very existence propagates the association between gay males and HIV that most of the participants found stigmatizing. The association between sexuality and HIV was reported as stigmatizing in some situations, while the construction of a clinic on the premise that gay men require such testing was not. This reinforces the idea that stigma is a personal experience independent of action and locale.