$2M NIH Grant to Study Effect of Cultural Stigma on Chinese Homosexual Men

August 9, 2013 - 3:38 PM

gay Chinese couple

(AP photo)

(CNSNews.com) – The final installment of a federal grant worth over $2 million has been awarded by the National Institutes of Health to a researcher studying how cultural stigmas affect the sexual behavior of homosexual men in China.

Project leader Kyung Hee Choi from the University of California San Francisco received $429,431 in May for the end of the five-year study. Research on the “Influence of Stigma and Discrimination on HIV Risk Among Men in China” began in 2009 and is projected to end next year.

The research abstract notes that “the prevalence of HIV among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China is on the rise (1%-10.4%)” and that “efforts to control the emerging HIV epidemic among these men may be hindered by stigma and discrimination related to sexual orientation.

"Experiences of MSM stigma were highly prevalent among Chinese MSM and that those who had had such experiences were more likely to engage in unprotected sex with men or with both men and women,” the abstract states.

Throughout three phases of research, researchers say they hope “to identify the specific mechanisms by which MSM stigma affect sexual risk behaviors among MSM in Beijing, China.”

Phase 1 entails an interview process to “explore the range of management strategies used to cope with MSM stigma,” while Phase 2 is meant to develop “culturally-relevant measures of explanatory constructs of interest (e.g., MSM stigma management).”

In Phase 3, “we will examine potential mediators (e.g., stigma management strategies, psychological distress, sexual contexts/situations) that explain how MSM stigma are linked to sexual risk for HIV.”

When CNSNews attempted to contact the researcher for further explanation on specific “stigma management strategies” and the benefits of the study for American taxpayers, a spokesperson from the AIDS Research Institute at UCSF said that the research is still underway and no answers will be available until findings are published “at some future date.”