MSM resilience to HIV

Identifying resilience resources for HIV prevention among sexual minority men: a systematic review.

Woodward EN, Banks RJ, Marks AK, Pantalone DW. AIDS Behav. 2016 Dec 15. [Epub ahead of print]

Most HIV prevention for sexual minority men and men who have sex with men targets risk behaviors (e.g., condom use) and helps <50% of participants. Bolstering resilience might increase HIV prevention's effectiveness. This systematic review identified resilience resources (protective factors) in high-risk, HIV-negative, sexual minority men. We reviewed PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, MEDLINE, references, and Listservs for studies including sexual minority men with 1+ HIV risk factor (syndemics): childhood sexual abuse, partner abuse, substance abuse, or mental health symptoms. From 1356 articles screened, 20 articles met inclusion criteria. Across the articles, we identified and codified 31 resilience resources: socioeconomic (e.g., employment), behavioral coping strategies (e.g., mental health treatment), cognitions/emotions (e.g., acceptance), and relationships. Resilience resources were generally associated with lower HIV risk; there were 18 low-risk associations, 4 high-risk associations, 8 non-significant associations. We generated a set of empirically based resilience variables and a hypothesis to be evaluated further to improve HIV prevention.

Abstract access   [1]

Editor’s notes: This systematic review sought to identify why gay men and other men who have sex with men, at high-risk of HIV, remain HIV negative. HIV-negative, gay men and other men who have sex with men, with a key risk factor for HIV were identified. These risk factors were childhood sexual abuse, partner abuse, substance abuse or mental health symptoms. The authors sought to identify why such men remain HIV negative. Why they are resilient to infection. Some 20 studies met the inclusion criteria. Four broad categories of resilience were identified; socioeconomic (e.g. degree, full-time job); behavioural coping strategies (e.g. accessing mental health services), cognitions/ emotions (e.g. acceptance of a situation); and relationships (e.g. perceived sufficient social support). Of the 31 sub-categories of resilience resources identified, four were identified as protective for HIV infection: main sex partner is HIV negative, willingness to use PrEP, PrEP acceptance and condom use. Resilience resource research for HIV prevention is a sparse area of study. This study generated a set of resilience variables upon which further research can be built.

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