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 ORIGINAL ARTICLE
Year : 2014  |  Volume : 60  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 130-134

Surveying Indian gay men for coping skills and HIV testing patterns using the internet


1 Center for Connected Health, Partners Health Care and Massachusetts General Hospital; Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts, USA
2 Co-founder, Decimal Foundation, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
3 Department of NGO Relationships, Samhita Social Ventures, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India
4 Department of Psychiatry, King Edward Memorial Hospital, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Dr. K S Jethwani
Center for Connected Health, Partners Health Care and Massachusetts General Hospital; Department of Dermatology, Harvard Medical School, Boston, Massachusetts
USA
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/0022-3859.132315

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Background: Surveying vulnerable and incarcerated populations is often challenging. Newer methods to reach and collect sensitive information in a safe, secure, and valid manner can go a long way in addressing this unmet need. Homosexual men in India live with inadequate social support, marginalization, and lack legal recognition. These make them less reachable by public health agencies, and make them more likely to continue with high-risk behaviors, and contract human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Aims: To understand coping skills and HIV testing patterns of homosexual men versus heterosexual men. Materials and Methods: An internet based study using a secure web platform and an anonymised questionnaire. The brief COPE Inventory was used to assess coping styles. Results: A total of 124 respondents were studied. Homosexual men used negative coping skills such as behavioral disengagement and tested for HIV significantly more often than heterosexual men. Heterosexual respondents used positive coping skills more often. The most commonly used coping skill by heterosexual men was instrumental coping and by homosexual men was acceptance. Discussion: Overall, homosexual men used negative coping mechanisms, like behavioral disengagement more often. The Indian family structure and social support is probably responsible for heterosexual men's over-reliance on instrumental coping, while resulting in disengagement in homosexuals. Conclusion: The lack of legal and social recognition of homosexuality has negatively impacted lives of gay men in India. This is strongly linked to harmful psychological and public health implications for HIV prevention and mental health for homosexual men.






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Online since 12th February '04
2004 - Journal of Postgraduate Medicine
Official Publication of the Staff Society of the Seth GS Medical College and KEM Hospital, Mumbai, India
Published by Wolters Kluwer - Medknow