Cross-sectional data were collected on a sample of 259 gay and bisexual, male-identified individuals as part of a larger study of the psychosocial functioning of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons. Analyses considered differences between HIV-positive and HIV-negative men in relation to active and religious coping strategies; avoidant coping strategies (specifically, illicit drug use); and the psychosocial states of anxiety, hostility, and depression in relation to self-reported HIV-status of the participants. As compared with HIV-negative men, the HIV positive participants indicated a greater likelihood of engaging in illicit substance use within the previous 3 months, as well as higher levels of both active and religious coping strategies. Illicit substance use also was found to be related to higher levels of depression, anxiety, and hostility. A multivariate model indicated a significant difference in substance-based and active coping strategies among the men surveyed, with persons with a self-reported HIV-positive serostatus endorsing higher levels of both strategies. These results and their implications for prevention and future research are discussed, rooted in the understanding that a complex reality for coping is often enacted by HIV-positive men.
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