Social determinants affecting the mental health of HIV infected Latino men who have sex with men living on the U.S. - Mexican border

Oscar Beltran Perez, University of Texas at El Paso


The HIV/AIDS global pandemic is more than three decades old, and although the continual advancement of antiretroviral therapies have successfully decreased the mortality rates of people living with HIV/AIDS (PLWHA), little has been done to improve their mental health status and positive inclusion in society (eliminating discrimination and stigma). This is especially true with the Latino PLWHA living in the U.S.-Mexico border area. This paper presents data from a qualitative study focused on exploring the mental health issues of a subsample of 40 Latino men who have sex with men (MSM) living with HIV/AIDS on the U.S.-Mexico Border. This subsample was part of an NIH study on antiretroviral adherence on the US-Mexico Border. Data was collected using in-depth interviews that were recorded and transcribed by the research team. The coding and analysis of the emerging themes were conducted using a qualitative data analysis software. Results show that with an increased presence of stigma and discrimination due sociocultural factors on the U.S.-Mexico border the Latino MSM living with HIV/AIDS struggle for accessing adequate behavioral medicine services. All participants reported and mentioned having a certain level of depression. The information was collected throughout the in-depth interviews and cross-validated with a self-reported depression scale (BDI-II). Only 30% of the total sample was taking medication to treat their depression; and only 7.5% of the participants who reported severe depression were being treated with antidepressants. There was an important gap in the management and treatment of depression among the participants' sample. Some of the factors affecting mental health of Latino MSM living with HIV/AIDS are the participant's socioeconomic status, job insecurity, access to healthcare, and the unique cross-border dynamics which include: commuting between the two border cities in order to access complementary healthcare services, the levels of support offered by friends and family in living on both sides of the border, and the increased border violence.

Subject Area

Mental health|GLBT Studies|Public health|Hispanic American studies

Recommended Citation

Beltran Perez, Oscar, "Social determinants affecting the mental health of HIV infected Latino men who have sex with men living on the U.S. - Mexican border" (2014). ETD Collection for University of Texas, El Paso. AAI3623377.