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The Influence of Stigma on the Sexual Risk Behavior of Rural Men Who Have Sex with Men

Research investigating predictors of risky sexual behavior of rural MSM is sparse, even though the prevalence of HIV in rural areas has increased. This study explored two sets of predictors of 93 rural MSM's levels of risky sexual behavior: mental health variables and stigma emanating from men's family members, health care professionals, and people in the rural communities in which they live. Over 47% of the men were found to be at modified high to high risk. Logistic regression using a continuation logit model was used to test the relationship of the predictor variables and the four levels of risk. Findings indicate that self-esteem was predictive of the highest sexual risk behavior but not lower levels of risk. Stigma was predictive of modified high sexual risk when compared to low and no risk categories. No variables differentiated men at low risk from men at no risk.

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