Stigma and HIV Concealment Motivation among Gay Men Living with HIV in Finland

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This study explored experiences of HIV stigma among gay men in Finland and the impact of these experiences on decision-making concerning HIV status disclosure. Seventeen gay men living with HIV in Finland participated in a qualitative interview study and the data were analyzed using thematic analysis. The results focus on the following themes: (1) “Social support impedes social stigma;” (2) “Social support and the risk of HIV stigma,” which describes how the pursuit of social support can expose some individuals to stigma; and (3) “HIV concealment motivation as a coping strategy,” focusing on the motivation to conceal one’s HIV status from others to avoid stigma. It is necessary to promote awareness and understanding of HIV in Finnish society, to challenge HIV stigma and, crucially, to facilitate access to social support among those diagnosed with HIV. This is likely to have favorable implications for both psychological and public health.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Homosexuality
Publication statusPublished - 15 Dec 2020


  • Gay men
  • HIV
  • HIV stigma
  • identity concealment
  • disclosure
  • psychological wellbeing
  • Finland


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