Inter-Group and Intraminority-Group Discrimination Experiences and the Coping Responses of Latino Sexual Minority Men Living With HIV

Published in: Annals of LGBTQ Public and Population Health, Volume 2, Issue 1, pages 1–21 (2021). doi: 10.1891/LGBTQ-2020-0028

by Sarah MacCarthy, Laura M. Bogart, Frank H. Galvan, David W. Pantalone

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Discrimination negatively impacts the health of HIV-positive Latino sexual minority men (LSMM+). A growing literature on LSMM+ chronicles associations based on multiple devalued identities and mental health symptoms, HIV medication nonadherence, and sexual behaviors with the potential to transmit HIV. To gain additional insights on identity-based discrimination—as well as the associated coping responses—we conducted 30 qualitative interviews with LSMM+. Participants were probed regarding recent discrimination events (context, details, perpetrator, type) based on their intersecting identities (Latinx ethnicity, residency status, sexual minority orientation, HIV-positive serostatus) and their coping responses. We transcribed and translated the interviews and conducted a content analysis. Participants reported inter-group (i.e., between majority and minority group members) and intraminority-group (i.e., within minority group members) experiences as common. Participants described their intraminority-group experiences with discrimination based on being a Latinx sexual minority person in their families and home communities. Participants reported a range of coping responses to discrimination experiences. However, participants reported only functional (and no dysfunctional) coping strategies, and they endorsed using similar strategies in response to inter-group and intraminority-group discrimination. Coping strategies included strategic avoidance, social support, self-advocacy, and external attribution. Additional coping strategies (spirituality and positive reframing) emerged more strongly in response to inter-group experiences with discrimination. Our results underscore the need to address both inter-group and intraminority-group discrimination experiences. Future interventions can focus on strengthening the effective coping skills that LSMM+ currently employ as potential levers to address LSMM+ health disparities.

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