AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 21, Issue 10, pp 2860–2873 | Cite as

Identifying Resilience Resources for HIV Prevention Among Sexual Minority Men: A Systematic Review

  • Eva N. Woodward
  • Regina J. Banks
  • Amy K. Marks
  • David W. Pantalone
Substantive Review


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.


HIV prevention HIV risk Resilience Sexual minority men Men who have sex with men 


La mayoría de prevención del VIH para los hombres de las minorías sexuales y hombres que tienen relaciones sexuales con hombres se dirige a los comportamientos de riesgo (por ejemplo, el uso del condón) y ayuda a <50% de los participantes. Refuerzo de la resiliencia podría aumentar la efectividad de la prevención del VIH. Esta revisión sistemática identificó recursos de resiliencia (factores protectores) en alto riesgo, VIH-negativos, hombres de las minorías sexuales. Revisamos PsycINFO, PsycARTICLES, MEDLINE, referencias, y servidores de listas para los estudios incluidos hombres de las minorías sexuales con factor de riesgo del VIH 1+ (syndemics): el abuso sexual infantil, el abuso de pareja, abuso de sustancias, o síntomas de salud mental. A partir de 1.356 artículos revisados, 20 artículos cumplieron los criterios de inclusión. A través de los artículos, hemos identificado y codificado 31 recursos de resiliencia: socio-económico (por ejemplo, empleo), las estrategias de afrontamiento de comportamiento (por ejemplo, tratamiento de salud mental), cogniciones/emociones (por ejemplo, la aceptación), y relaciones. recursos de resiliencia en general se asocian con un menor riesgo de VIH (18 asociaciones riesgo bajo, 4 asociaciones alto riesgo, 8 asociaciones no significativas). Hemos generado un conjunto de variables de resiliencia de base empírica y una hipótesis para realizar evaluaciones adicionales para mejorar la prevención del VIH.



We would like to acknowledge Lance Swenson, PhD, at Suffolk University, Boston, USA, for his help in the early conceptual stages of this review; Anthony Flynn, BA, at the University of Massachusetts at Boston, USA, for his contributions coding for resilience resources; and Matthew G. Lamoreaux, USA, for his deft assistance translating articles into the English language.


This research was supported by the Department of Psychology of Suffolk University in Boston, Massachusetts, USA; the Department of Veterans Affairs Office of Academic Affiliations Advanced Fellowship Program in Mental Illness Research and Treatment; the Medical Research Service of the Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare System; and the Department of Veterans Affairs South Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC).

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors do not have any conflicts of interest to report, financial or otherwise.

Human Subjects and Animal Participants

There were no human subjects or animals directly involved in this work.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 161 kb)
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Supplementary material 4 (DOCX 24 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York (outside the USA) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eva N. Woodward
    • 1
    • 2
  • Regina J. Banks
    • 3
  • Amy K. Marks
    • 4
  • David W. Pantalone
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Central Arkansas Veterans Healthcare SystemSouth Central Mental Illness Research, Education, and Clinical Center (MIRECC)North Little RockUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of Arkansas for Medical SciencesLittle RockUSA
  3. 3.Department of Social WorkWashington University in St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  4. 4.Department of PsychologySuffolk UniversityBostonUSA
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Massachusetts BostonBostonUSA
  6. 6.The Fenway InstituteBostonUSA

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