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Am J Public Health. 2013 Dec;103(12):2193-9. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301437. Epub 2013 Oct 17.

"You're an open target to be abused": a qualitative study of stigma and HIV self-disclosure among Black men who have sex with men.

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Jason D. P. Bird is with the Department of Social Work, College of Arts and Sciences, Rutgers University, Newark, NJ. Dexter R. Voisin is with the School of Social Service Administration, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL, and the STI/HIV Intervention Network, Chicago.


The HIV/AIDS epidemic is a health crisis among Black men who have sex with men (MSM). HIV-related stigma presents a primary barrier to sexual communication and effective HIV prevention. Using in-depth, qualitative interviews conducted with 20 HIV-positive Black MSM between 2007 and 2008 in Chicago, Illinois, we explored the themes related to HIV-related stigma and the underlying messages HIV-positive Black MSM receive regarding their status. Stigmatizing messages stem from family, churches, and the gay community and from negative, internalized, beliefs HIV-positive Black MSM held about infected individuals before their own infection. HIV stigma influences sexual silence around HIV disclosure, especially to sexual partners.

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