Mitigating risks and building resilience to HIV/AIDS: Perspectives of HIV-negative, middle-aged and older men who have sex with men.
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Purpose: Although ample research has been conducted on resilience to HIV/AIDS, most studies have utilized quantitative methods and focused almost exclusively on people living with HIV/AIDS. A relatively untapped source of knowledge is the perspectives of HIV-negative, middle-aged and older men who have sex with men (MSM) who have been navigating risks and building resilience to HIV/AIDS since the 1980s. Our qualitative, community-based participatory research study examined the perspectives of HIV-negative, middle-aged and older MSM on factors that helped mitigate the risks of and build resilience to HIV/AIDS. Methods: In collaboration with community-based organizations, fourteen participants were recruited for in-depth interviews. Participants were aged 40 or older, identified as HIV-negative MSM, and resided in Ontario, Canada. Thematic analysis of interviews revealed salient themes. Results: Three themes were identified: (1) individual attributes (e.g., self-awareness/control), (2) protective relational factors (e.g., meaningful sexual relationships), and (3) community-based resources (e.g., competent healthcare/service providers). Conclusion: HIV-negative, middle-aged and older MSM recognized factors that helped mitigate risks of contracting and build resilience to HIV/AIDS based on their own lived experiences. Some of these factors have not been explicitly identified or extensively discussed in extant academic literature, and are worth considering in the development of community-based HIV/AIDS prevention and intervention programs.
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