Human Immunodificiency Virus (HIV) causes men who have sex with other men (MSM) to sustain serious health problems. When HIV progresses to AIDS, the immune system deteriorates increasing the risk of opportunistic infections, chronic disease and potentially death. Due to the many physical health complications, mental health implications may be overlooked. HIV stigma may contribute to poor mental health and seeking autonomy and relationality as a method of coping. Thus, people infected with HIV may engage in disease-spreading behaviors such as not testing for sexually transmitted infections, and engaging in unprotected sex to cope with the psychological burden of HIV. One behavior seen in MSM is gift-giving, or the process of intentionally transmitting HIV to a partner (Klein, 2014) as an act of relationality and self-determination (Thorneycoft & Smilges, 2022). People who have HIV may feel isolated and a loss of control over their mental and physical health status. Gift-giving may provide a way to cope with indifference and some sexual liberty. Consensual gift-giving is "generationing" while nonconsensual gift-giving is known as "stealthing." Despite the lack of discussion amongst MSM, gift-giving behaviors are prevalent in gay pornography and real sexual encounters (Klein, 2014; Brennan, 2016). Whether gift-giving is consensual or not, it plays an important role in disease transmission. There is a paucity of research about gift-giving in MSM, especially potential psychological explanations for the practice. The proposed study will examine the association between gift-giving and HIV stigma. It is expected HIV stigma, depression and anxiety will be associated with gift-giving behaviors. Participants will be approximately 400 MSM who will complete measures of HIV stigma, depression and anxiety, and gift-giving behaviors (unprotected sex, generationing and stealthing). Results from this study may inform prevention and intervention efforts around behaviors associated with sexually transmitted diseases and HIV stigma.
University / Institution: Utah Tech University
Format: In Person
SESSION B (10:45AM-12:15PM)
Area of Research: Social Sciences
Faculty Mentor: Dannelle Larsen-Rife
Location: Union Building, COLLEGIATE ROOM (11:25am)