Internalized homophobia and HIV testing among Korean gay and bisexual men: a study in a high-income country with pervasive HIV/AIDS stigma

Hyemin Lee, Don Operario, Madina Agénor, Horim Yi, Sungsub Choo, Seung Sup Kim

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Limited research has been conducted on factors contributing to HIV testing among sexual minority populations in South Korea (hereafter, Korea), where stigma against homosexuality and HIV/AIDS is pervasive. We used a nationwide cross-sectional survey of 907 Korean cisgender gay and bisexual (GB) men who were HIV-negative or HIV-unknown in 2016. Regarding internalized homophobia (IHP), participants were categorized into tertiles (low, moderate, and high). Past 12-month HIV testing was assessed via a single yes/no question. Using a modified Poisson regression model, we examined the association between IHP and HIV testing among cisgender GB men in Korea. The overall prevalence of obtaining an HIV test was 41.8% among Korean cisgender GB men. We also found a statistically significant association between IHP and past 12-month HIV testing in this population. Specifically, participants with low IHP had a higher prevalence of HIV testing (adjusted PR = 1.37, 95% CI = 1.14–1.65) compared to those with high IHP. Given these findings, more efforts are needed in Korea to enhance GB men's access to HIV testing, such as improving social circumstances to lower IHP of GB men and creating an environment that enables and facilitates GB men to receive HIV testing without stigma against their sexual identity.

Original languageEnglish
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
DOIs
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Bisexual man
  • gay man
  • HIV testing
  • internalized homophobia
  • South Korea

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health

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