'Personal Communities' and Safer Sex: A Qualitative Study of Young Gay and Bisexual Men in Scotland

Boydell-Wright, N., Buston, K. and McDaid, L. (2013) 'Personal Communities' and Safer Sex: A Qualitative Study of Young Gay and Bisexual Men in Scotland. In: BSA Medical Sociology Group 45th Annual Conference, York, England, 11-13 Sep 2013, (Unpublished)

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Successful HIV prevention among gay men has been linked to strong 'community' responses to HIV and adherence to safer sex practices. Ambivalence about the role of community has been identified among young gay men, and recent research has suggested that the concept of 'personal communities' may offer an alternative way of understanding sources of support and identification among gay men. This PhD research aimed to explore young gay and bisexual men's 'personal communities', and the role those within them (e.g. friends, family, partners and colleagues) may play in shaping men’s safe-sex strategies. Thirty young gay and bisexual men, aged 18-29, took part in in-depth, semi-structured interviews. Interviews focused on exploring men's 'personal communities', and how they understand and negotiate safe(r) sex as part of sexual practice. Preliminary analysis suggests that men's personal communities are diverse and complex, highlighting the different roles that individuals within them may play in informing men's approaches to safer sex. How men think about and manage their sexual identity, particularly in the context of 'gay community', appears to play a role in how men discuss sexual health and safer sex. Areas of convergence and divergence between men's experiences of 'gay community/ies' and their own 'personal community' can be seen, suggesting the importance of supportive relationships with individuals, and connections with 'community', and community organisations. The implications for HIV prevention are explored with particular reference to whether different types of intervention are needed to address various parts of men's 'personal communities'.

Item Type:Conference Proceedings
Additional Information:Funder: Medical Research Council (MRC). Studentship Award Reference: 978281. Title: Gay Community Norms and Sexual Health (Personal Communities and Safer Sex: A Qualitative Study of Young Gay and Bisexual Men in Scotland)
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Boydell, Dr Nicola and McDaid, Professor Lisa and Buston, Dr Katie
Authors: Boydell-Wright, N., Buston, K., and McDaid, L.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > Institute of Health and Wellbeing > MRC/CSO SPHSU
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Project CodeAward NoProject NamePrincipal InvestigatorFunder's NameFunder RefLead Dept
656571Sexual Health and Families ProgrammeLisa McDaidMedical Research Council (MRC)MC_UU_12017/2IHW - MRC/CSO SPHU