Psychological wellbeing facilitates accurate HIV risk appraisal in gay and bisexual men

Rusi Jaspal, Barbara Lopes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Accurate HIV risk appraisal is key to effective HIV prevention. This study focuses on the role of psychological wellbeing in determining perceived HIV risk in a sample of gay and bisexual (GBM) in the UK. Methods: Overall, 191 HIV-negative GBM completed a cross-sectional survey, in which they provided demographic information and completed measures of engagement in actual sexual risk behaviours, diagnosis with a sexually transmissible infection in the past 12 months, frequency of HIV testing, use of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), perceived HIV risk, lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) identity, sexual identity openness and psychological wellbeing. Results: Results showed that there was a correlation between engagement in actual HIV risk behaviours and perceived HIV risk, suggesting relatively accurate HIV risk appraisal in the participant sample. LGBT identity and sexual identity openness were associated with increased psychological wellbeing. Structural equation modelling showed that psychological wellbeing has an effect on perceived HIV risk through the mediator of LGBT identity. Conclusions: It appears that a state of psychological wellbeing facilitates the construction of a strong and robust LGBT identity, which can be displayed to others, and that a strong LGBT identity in turn facilitates accurate HIV risk appraisal in GBM. In order to achieve our target of zero new HIV infections by 2030, it will be essential to focus on enhancing psychological wellbeing in people at risk of HIV.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)288-295
JournalSexual Health
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 26 Jun 2020


  • HIV risk
  • risk appraisal
  • psychological wellbeing
  • identity
  • HIV prevention


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