Enacted Stigma and HIV Risk Behaviours among Sexual Minority Indigenous Youth in Canada, New Zealand, and the United States


Enacted stigma has been linked to increased HIV risk behaviours among sexual minority youth, but despite higher rates of HIV and other STIs, there is very little research with Indigenous youth. In this study, secondary analyses of three population-based, school surveys were conducted to explore the associations between HIV risk and enacted stigma among sexual minority Indigenous youth in Canada, the US, and New Zealand. Data were analyzed and interpreted with guidance from Indigenous and sexual minority research team members, Indigenous advisory groups, and community consultations. In all three countries, Indigenous sexual minority youth were more likely to experience enacted stigma (such as bullying, discrimination, exclusion, harassment, or school-based violence) and report increased HIV risk behaviours (such as lack of condom use, multiple sexual partners, pregnancy involvement, and injection drug use) compared to heterosexual peers. Data were analyzed by age, gender, and sexual orientation, and for some groups, higher levels of enacted stigma was associated with higher HIV risk. The findings highlight the need for more research, including identifying protective factors, and developing interventions that focus on promoting resilience, addressing the levels of stigma and homophobic violence in school, and restoring historical traditions of positive status for Indigenous sexual minority people.

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