It is possible that disclosing one's HIV status can further a person's coming-out process as a gay or bisexual man and can have other mental health benefits. Using samples of gay identified and bisexually identified African American men, this study examined the relationship between HIV status and several variables: use of mental health services, levels of internalized homonegativity, levels of stigma associated with same-sex activity and disclosure about same sex activity to community and family. Compared to individuals without HIV, the African American HIV+ men who had sex with men in this study reported using more mental health services, having lower levels of internalized homonegativity and experiencing lower levels of stigma associated with same sex activity. Duration of HIV+ status was positively associated with disclosure about same-sex activity. This pattern of results was more pronounced for gay identified African American men than those who identified as bisexual. These findings highlight how disclosing one's HIV tatus can be associated with the coming-out process, but minority stress associated with a bisexual identity among African American men who have sex with men may minimize these potential benefits.
- African American
- Coming out