Culture, social networks and HIV vulnerability among men who have sex with men in Indonesia
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The current study aimed to explore cultural and social network influence on HIV vulnerability among Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) population in Yogyakarta, Indonesia. A qualitative inquiry employing in-depth one-on-one interviews was carried out with 24 MSM participants in July 2015. Data were analysed using a framework analysis and guided by the Social Networks Theory (SNT) as a conceptual framework. Findings indicated that prohibitive cultural perspectives and norms against same-sex marriage made them to conceal their sexual orientation and thus secretively engaging in unprotected sex that increased their predisposition to HIV transmission. The prohibitive cultures were also instrumental in the formation of MSM sexual networks that provided supportive environment for HIV-risky sexual practices among network partners. These findings provide information that can be used to improve HIV/AIDS service practices and policies. However, further studies with large numbers of MSM would be needed to improve the understanding of other HIV vulnerability determinants, the unique needs of MSM, and what and how programs could be conducted to reduce HIV vulnerability among MSM population.
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