Background: In 2010, nearly half of all estimated AIDS diagnoses in Mississippi were among men who have sex men (MSM) and Jackson, MS was ranked 3rd in the nation in its rate of AIDS cases. Many MSM’s experience internalized homophobia, which has been associated with HIV, particularly in African American men who have sex with men (AAMSM). Therefore, AAMSM in Jackson, MS are at high risk for HIV/AIDS. The objective of this study is to understand how religion and spiritual factors are mediated by internalized homophobia we will 1) assess if religious practices are associated with high risk sexual behavior among AAMSM residing in the Jackson, MS metropolitan area and 2) assess if spirituality is associated with high risk sexual behavior among AAMSM residing in the Jackson, MS metropolitan area.
Methods: This study is a cross-sectional, self-administered, paper-based survey of 112 AAMSM 18 years or older recruited in the Jackson, MS metropolitan area.
Results: Among AAMSM (n = 112) (r = .228, p < .05) (variables Internalized Homophobia Score and Worship Attendance Frequency Past 12 Months); (r = -.240, p < .05) (variables Internalized Homophobia Score and Expectation to Resist Unsafe Sex Score). Spirituality Score and Internalized Homophobia Score significantly predict Expectation to Resist Unsafe Sex Score, F(2, 109) = 7.521, p < .001.
Conclusions: Internalized homophobia is associated with the frequency of worship attendance and the expectation to resist unsafe sex. Internalized homophobia strengthens the relationship between spirituality and the expectation to resist unsafe sex.