Date of Conferral





Public Health


Sriya Krishnamoorthy


The rate of HIV/AIDS infections among African American men who have sex with men (MSM) is alarming. There has been a challenge in reducing HIV/AIDS among the African American MSM population due to internal and external factors that affect their decision making. The theory of social support and reasoned action were applied to gain knowledge on the lived experiences and perceptions of African American MSM as related to social support and seeking health care, which can help fight the heavy impact HIV/AIDS has placed on this population. Data was collected from 14 African American men who openly identified as MSM. Following the in-depth face-to-face interviews, themes were developed using Miles and Huberman's 6-step analytical process to gather a better understanding from this population's perspective. The participants' responses yielded that, although they felt support should come from family, most judgement came daily from family. Participants indicated that judgement tended to cause them to shy away and hide their sexuality from family and turn to people who were more like themselves whom they could trust. Social support has an impact on positive behaviors and choices as related to health among the African American MSM population. Social support can encourage regular testing among this population as well as provide comfort in discussing risky behaviors to ones' health. Knowing ones' health status helps promote HIV/AIDS awareness which helps decrease the prevalence of HIV/AIDS within the African American MSM population as a whole.