Young men who have sex with men (MSM) experience multiple health disparities, including alcohol and drug use, partner violence, victimization due to sexual orientation, and HIV infection. Syndemic theorists explain the clustering of these disparities among adult MSM as a result of cultural marginalization. To date, research on a similar emerging syndemic among young MSM has been limited to quantitative studies. The authors seek to better understand these disparities, and how they may cluster together, via qualitative interviews with 21 ethnically diverse, HIV-infected young MSM aged 18 to 24 years. These youth report a lack of gay-specific HIV prevention education, absence of role models, and lack of productive future goal-related activities as factors related to their acquisition of HIV and downplay substance use as a factor. Although not necessarily the components traditionally cited by syndemic theorists, these findings support the notion that multiple factors of cultural marginalization cluster together in the lives of young MSM and underscore the importance of community-level interventions, such as sexual health education, access to mentors, and assistance with future goal setting and planning.
- young men who have sex with men
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Health(social science)