Children and Young People Living with HIV/AIDS

Part of the series Cross-Cultural Research in Health, Illness and Well-Being pp 223-239


Mental Health Problems and Associated Socio-Ecological Factors Among HIV-Positive Young Migrant Men Who Have Sex with Men in China

  • Haochu (Howard) LiAffiliated withUNC Project-China, Institute for Global Health and Infectious Diseases, University of North Carolina at Chapel HillSchool of Public Health, Shandong University Email author 
  • , Joseph T. F. LauAffiliated withJockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care, The Chinese University of Hong Kong
  • , Eleanor HolroydAffiliated withSchool of Clinical Sciences, Auckland University of Technology
  • , Xiaoming LiAffiliated withDepartment of Health Promotion, Education, and Behavior, Arnold School of Public Health

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We examined the mental health status among HIV-positive young migrant men who have sex with men (MSM) residing in a city in Southern China through an ethnographic study. Nineteen HIV-positive young MSM aged from 18 to 25 were included in the current analysis. Most HIV-positive young MSM (14/19) self-reported depressive symptoms, almost half (8/19) had experienced anxiety, and about one third (6/19) had experienced both symptoms. The HIV diagnosis brought on such testified stressors including frightening images of HIV/AIDS, side-effects of antiretroviral treatment (ART), and social restrictions due to the disease, serving to make the men feel disabled and worthless. Participants’ life history accounts provided evidence of their problems being embedded in social ecological contexts, such as social adversity in the process of migration, social suffering as MSM, cultural trauma, stigma and discrimination. We theorize that HIV/AIDS is a trigger that amplifies pre-existing stress and conflicts that are deeply embedded at different socio-ecological levels among young migrant MSM.


HIV-positive Depression Anxiety Mental health Socio-ecological model Young people Migrant Men who have sex with men Ethnography China