SEXUALITY AND STIGMA: CULTURE, IDENTITY, AND MENTAL HEALTH AMONG HIGH-RISK MEN WHO HAVE SEX WITH MEN

JULY 28, 2020

12:30 P.M. – 2:00 P.M. EDT

ABOUT THE PRESENTATION

Globally, gay and bisexual men (GBM) face great health risks as well as social challenges due to the stigma associated with their sexual orientation and/or identity. The global literature reveals that stigmatization directed towards GBM result in minority stress with detrimental effects on their mental and sexual health, including anxiety, depression and/or suicide ideation or attempts, often coupled with substance abuse, alcohol misuse, and risky sexual practices in a syndemic manner. These phenomena are further magnified for GBM who sex sell to other men.

Nonetheless, the global literature shows that individual resilience is an important protective factor against minority stress, and the need for resilience-building interventions targeting GBM is well recognized. Resilience is recognized as an important protective factor against minority stress.

This talk will cover a program of research on the sexual health among men who sell sex to other men in two countries: China and Tajikistan. The focus will be on how cultural mores (e.g., religion) and norms (e.g., gender role) as well as expectations associated with manhood (e.g., having a family) shape sexual identity and sexual expressions in these men and their effects on mental health. In particular, the intersectionality of sexuality, stigma, and health domains among these men will be examined. Three health issues — mental health, sexual risks, and substance abuse – will be covered. Finally, a review of promising prevention and/or intervention programs will be addressed.

ABOUT THE SPEAKER

Frank Wong

Frank Wong, Ph.D.
Professor, Psychology
The College of Nursing at Florida State University

Dr. Frank (“Frankie”) Y. Wong, is a tenured professor in the College of Nursing at Florida State University. He also holds appointments at the University of Hawai`i at Mānoa (in Psychology) and Fudan University (in Epidemiology) in Shanghai, China, including an appointment as a Concurrent Professor at Fudan University (highest academic appointment for a non-Chinese national in recognition for his contribution to the University).

For more than two decades, he has been conducting National Institutes of Health (NIH)-sponsored, community-based research targeting racial/ethnic and underserved populations (including immigrants, refugees, and linguistic and sexual minorities) with a history of or who are currently using alcohol, tobacco, and other drugs and engaging in HIV-related risk practices (e.g., intimate partner violence). He also has conducted research in these areas (under the broad construct of “sexual health”) in countries such as China, Tajikistan, and Viet Nam. Notably, he is known for his seminal research on “money boys” (men who sell sex to other men) in China. This special population has unique challenges beyond those traditional barriers faced by gay and bisexual men who do not sell sex. His more recent research focuses on the impact of macro-social determinants (e.g., homophobia, poverty, and racism) on living with HIV (e.g., hypertension) as a chronic disease.

ABOUT THE MODERATOR

Tamara Lewis Johnson

Tamara Lewis Johnson, M.P.H., M.B.A.
Chief, Women’s Health Research Program
Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity, National Institute of Mental Health

Ms. Tamara Lewis Johnson is the Chief of the Women’s Health Research Program for the Office for Disparities Research and Workforce Diversity. She is responsible for providing advice and guidance on matters relating to women’s health research and mental health.  Ms. Lewis Johnson brings 11 years of experience in health science management from the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) where she served as a Health Science Specialist in the Division of Extramural Activities’ Office of Extramural Research Policy Operations. Ms. Lewis Johnson supported the development of initiatives to promote investments in biomedical research that advance public health outcomes. She has produced reports that describe the importance of infectious and immune-mediated research initiatives to congressional staffers, scientific organizations, and constituency groups. Her expertise in systems engineering, implementation science and operations research have enabled her to advance translational research that can be used in low-income settings in the United States and abroad. Ms. Lewis Johnson has been instrumental in the development of scientific workgroups to advance public health outcomes through the support of discovery science to advance improved diagnostics, drug development, and vaccine research. She also served as the Senior Program Manager for Women’s Health for the Office of Special Populations and Research Training where she was responsible for managing research and training initiatives related to women’s health research in infectious diseases and immune-mediated illnesses.

Prior to her work at NIAID, Ms. Lewis Johnson worked at the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) as the Women’s Health Team Lead and Acting Deputy Director of the Office of Women and Minority’s Health (OWMH), at HRSA’s Bureau of Primary Health Care (BPHC). Ms. Johnson holds two Master’s degrees, one in Business Administration and one in Public Health, with a concentration in Health Services Management, from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Industrial Engineering from Stanford University.