The Impact of HIV and High-Risk Behaviors on the Wives of Married MSM and IDU: Implications for HIV Prevention

Published: June 23, 2010

Using respondent-driven recruitment, wives of men who also have sex with men (MSM) and wives of injecting drug users (IDUs) in Tamil Nadu and Chennai, India, were recruited to participate in a study analyzing the risks that Indian men who engage in high-risk behavior pose to their wives and partners. The study found that Indian social pressures that lead many MSM to marry may also drive them underground to engage in high-risk behaviors, putting them and their families at high risk for HIV. As is the case with homosexuality, drug use is heavily stigmatized. High levels of bisexual concurrency were detected among men in this study, and the wives of both MSM and IDUs reported little control over their partners’ risk behaviors. The authors encourage large-scale, community-level interventions to target stigma and discrimination against MSM who are married. Increasing access for families to affordable primary health care facilities, particularly those that offer comprehensive HIV, drug, and alcohol abuse services, will also minimize stigma, while fostering economic empowerment for women married to IDUs may increase access to provisions and health care for the family.

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