Media portrayal, perception and stigma of race, sexuality and HIV among young gay and bisexual black men


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Worship Health Sex. December 12, 2021: 1-15. doi: 10.1080 / 1369105.2021.2008506. Online ahead of print.


Young gay and bisexual black men who have sex with men experience stigma related to race, gender expression, sexuality, and HIV status. Stigma impacts access to HIV care and prevention as well as interactions with health care providers. The amplification of stigma by popular media is under-studied in the health sciences. HealthMpowerment is a cellphone-optimized intervention aimed at reducing sexual risk and supporting community development for young gay and bisexual black men (ages 18-30). We analyzed Forum conversations of 48 participants, 45.8% living with HIV. Of 322 conversations relating to stigma, 18.9% referred to the media (e.g. TV, news, social media) as a source of stigma. Forum conversations focused on media representations of gay and bisexual black men, the influence of media on identity, and the creation of stigma by association with media portrayals. Cultural messages embedded in the media can accentuate stereotypes that influence perceptions of gay and bisexual black men and ignore intersectional identities. HealthMpowerment provided a space to question stigmatizing representations. Participants used HealthMpowerment to gain social support and celebrate positive media portrayals. Interventions for young black gay and bisexual men should take into account the influential role of the media and include spaces for participants to address and address stigma.

PMID: 34895082 | DOI: 10.1080 / 1369105.2021.2008506


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