Are gay communities dying or just in transition? Results from an international consultation examining possible structural change in gay communities

B. R. Simon Rosser, William West, Richard Weinmeyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

84 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study sought to identify how urban gay communities are undergoing structural change, reasons for that change, and implications for HIV prevention planning. Key informants (N=29) at the AIDS Impact Conference from 17 cities in 14 countries completed surveys and participated in a facilitated structured dialog about if gay communities are changing, and if so, how they are changing. In all cities, the virtual gay community was identified as currently larger than the offline physical community. Most cities identified that while the gay population in their cities appeared stable or growing, the gay community appeared in decline. Measures included greater integration of heterosexuals into historically gay-identified neighborhoods and movement of gay persons into suburbs, decreased number of gay bars/clubs, less attendance at gay events, less volunteerism in gay or HIV/AIDS organizations, and the overall declining visibility of gay communities. Participants attributed structural change to multiple factors including gay neighborhood gentrification, achievement of civil rights, less discrimination, a vibrant virtual community, and changes in drug use. Consistent with social assimilation, gay infrastructure, visibility, and community identification appears to be decreasing across cities. HIV prevention planning, interventions, treatment services, and policies need to be re-conceptualized for MSM in the future. Four recommendations for future HIV prevention and research are detailed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)588-595
Number of pages8
JournalAIDS Care - Psychological and Socio-Medical Aspects of AIDS/HIV
Volume20
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008

Keywords

  • Gay community change
  • HIV risk
  • Resurgent HIV epidemic
  • Structural interventions
  • Unsafe sex

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