Mental Health Problems and Associated Socio-Ecological Factors Among HIV-Positive Young Migrant Men Who Have Sex with Men in China
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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.
KeywordsHIV-positive Depression Anxiety Mental health Socio-ecological model Young people Migrant Men who have sex with men Ethnography China
This research obtained funding from the Center for Health Behaviors Research of the Jockey Club School of Public Health and Primary Care (JCSPHPC), The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK), a postgraduate study grant in JCSPHPC, and the Global Scholarship Programme for Research Excellence – CNOOC Grants 2010–2011 in CUHK. Authors wish to thank all participants who shared their life histories and experiences, Shenzhen 258 Rainbow Workgroup and Shenzhen CDC who helped significantly in the fieldwork and access to the populations. Dr. Conall O’Cleirigh from Harvard Medical School provided significant assistance in coding depression and anxiety symptoms.
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