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American Journal of Men’s Health

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African American gay men, Black gay men, HIV-positive persons -- Research -- Citizen participation., Sexual minorities, Qualitative research, Photovoice


Black men who have sex with men (MSM) with HIV experience significant health inequities and poorer health outcomes compared with other persons with HIV. The primary aims of this study were to describe the needs, assets, and priorities of Black MSM with HIV who live in the Southern United States and identify actions to improve their health using photovoice. Photovoice, a participatory, collaborative research methodology that combines documentary photography with group discussion, was conducted with six Black MSM with HIV. From the photographs and discussions, primary themes of discrimination and rejection, lack of mental health services, coping strategies to reduce stress, sources of acceptance and support, and future aspirations emerged. After the photographs were taken and discussed, the participants hosted a photo exhibition and community forum for the public. Here, 37 community attendees and influential advocates collaborated with the participants to identify 12 actions to address the men’s identified needs, assets, and priorities. These included making structural changes in the legal and medical systems, encouraging dialogue to eliminate multiple forms of stigma and racism, and advocating for comprehensive care for persons with HIV. As a secondary aim, the impacts of photovoice were assessed. Participants reported enjoying photovoice and found it meaningful. Results suggest that in addition to cultivating rich community-based knowledge, photovoice may result in positive changes for Black MSM with HIV.


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