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Minority Stress, Identity Conflict, and HIV-Related Outcomes Among Men Who Have Sex with Men, Transgender Women, and Gender Nonbinary People of Color

Sarno EL, Swann G, Xavier Hall CD, Newcomb ME, Mustanski B

LGBT Health

Purpose: This study investigated conflict between sexual orientation and racial/ethnic identities as a mechanism linking minority stress to HIV-related outcomes among men who have sex with men (MSM), transgender women and gender nonbinary (TGN) people of color (POC). 

Methods: We tested longitudinal mediation models with sexual orientation microaggressions, internalized heterosexism (IH), and sexual orientation concealment at Time 1, and pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use and number of condomless anal sex (CAS) partners at Time 3, mediated by identity conflict at Time 2. Participants were 337 MSM and TGN POC. Data were collected in Chicago, Illinois, from September 2018 to February 2021. 

Results: Indirect associations of IH and sexual orientation concealment, respectively, at Time 1 with CAS partners at Time 3 through identity conflict at Time 2 were significant. Mediation models with sexual orientation microaggressions as the predictor and PrEP use as the outcome were not significant. 

Conclusion: Minority stress may contribute to identity conflict and increase CAS by isolating MSM and TGN POC from sexual and gender minority communities, thus restricting access to safer sex resources, and by increasing psychological distress and decreasing self-care (e.g., condom use).

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