Look into the HIV Epidemic of Gay Community with a Socio-Cultural Perspective: A Qualitative Study in China, 2015-2016.

PloS one

PubMedID: 28107523

He H, Lv F, Zhang NN, Wu Z, Liao Q, Chang Z, Li Y, Xu H, OuYang L, Huan X, Yang J. Look into the HIV Epidemic of Gay Community with a Socio-Cultural Perspective: A Qualitative Study in China, 2015-2016. PLoS ONE. 2017;12(1):e0170457.
BACKGROUND
Current Chinese studies continue to view male homosexuality through a disease focused lens which pays limited attention to socio-cultural aspects of sexual behavior and HIV transmission. This qualitative study aimed to investigate how socio-cultural factors influence gay men's sexual beliefs and behaviors in contemporary China, and their implications for HIV epidemic.

METHODS AND FINDINGS
Qualitative methodology was used in this study. During 2015-2016, in-depth interviews were conducted with 61 self identified gay men in Jiangxi, Henan, Heilongjiang, Guangdong, Jiangsu provinces and Chongqing municipality of China. Our study revealed that: 1) influenced by Chinese traditional culture, gay men have conflicts on self-identity, which led to low self-acceptance and negative attitude on sex, and huge socio-psychological stress; 2) a generational differences within gay community was observed, reflected in varied sexual attitudes and practices as well as way for approaching new friends, both of which have implications and challenges on HIV control and prevention; 3) socio-cultural barriers, including open minds towards casual sex and nonmonogamous relationship, and low priority of health demands were widely observed and led to negative coping with AIDS among gay community.

CONCLUSIONS
It is essential to take a holistic view into gay men's HIV epidemic in China. Socio-cultural barriers for HIV control and prevention found in this study call for serious and imperative consideration on integrated measures, including targeted efforts towards effective sex education and further inclusion of socio-cultural perspectives in HIV/AIDS interventions for gay men.