Author ORCID Identifier

Date of Award

Summer 8-8-2023

Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Kimberley Freire, PhD, MPH

Second Advisor

Sophia Hussen, MD, MPH


Young Black-gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (YB-GBMSM) are disproportionately impacted by HIV. For YB-GBMSM living with HIV, there is a weak understanding of how HIV stigma impacts their intersecting racial/ethnic and sexual minority identities. Existing literature suggests that the YB and GBMSM identities often act in opposition to another, denying prospects for an affirmed identity, which calls for engaging oneself in “the affective process of developing positive feelings and a strong sense of belonging to one’s social group” (Ghavami et al., 2011). Furthermore, there is a paucity of literature regarding YB-GBMSM holding a positive perspective that highlights the strengths of this community. To address these various gaps in the literature, a cross-sectional study of N=200 YB-GBMSM between the ages of 18-29 living with HIV and in Atlanta was conducted. It was hypothesized that HIV stigma diminishes efforts to maintain an affirmed identity, amongst YB-GBMSM living with HIV, and further suggested that resilience might weaken this negative association. According to the measure employed in this study, resilience is defined as one’s “ability to bounce back or recover from stress” (Smith et al., 2008). Based on the data provided by the summary correlations table, HIV stigma had a negative impact on Queer-Person of Color (QPOC) identity beliefs. Resilience, however, did not have a moderating effect on the relationship between HIV stigma and an affirmed QPOC identity, as hypothesized. Future research should be dedicated to establishing either a YB-GBMSM-specific measure of resilience or a more inclusive measure of resilience that highlights YB-GBMSM’s unique experiences and their environmental context. Moreover, future interventions should identify practical ways to employ resilience, promote identity affirmation among YB-GBMSM, and continue pursuing strengths-based approaches that assist YB-GBMSM living with HIV with successfully navigating HIV stigma, and other pervasive forms of oppression/discrimination.


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