The psychological cost of anticipating HIV stigma for HIV-negative gay and bisexual men

Tyrel J. Starks, H. Jonathon Rendina, Aaron S. Breslow, Jeffrey T. Parsons, Sarit A. Golub

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


Much research has examined the impact of HIV-associated stigma on HIV-positive individuals, but little work has explored its impact on HIV-negative persons. However, many gay and bisexual men may imagine the stigma they would experience upon seroconverting, and this anticipated stigma may be associated with negative mental health. Such concerns may be exacerbated among men who identify with the receptive role during anal sex, because of greater risk for infection. This study examined the association between anticipated HIV stigma and negative affect among 683 HIV-negative gay and bisexual men living in New York City. Anticipated HIV stigma predicted negative affect over and above internalized homonegativity. Sexual role identity was associated directly with anticipated stigma and indirectly with negative affect. Results suggest that anticipated HIV stigma may be an important mental health issue for gay and bisexual men. Public health messaging discussing sexual positioning should be sensitive to the potential for exacerbating anticipated HIV stigma among bottom-identified men.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2732-2741
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number8
StatePublished - Oct 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • Depression
  • Gay
  • HIV stigma
  • Sexual role identity
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


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