Date of Conferral







Eileen Fowles


In 2017, there were 4,949 persons diagnosed with human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), 116,944 persons living with HIV, and 2,044 acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) cases in Florida. Of the 4,972 new HIV diagnoses in Florida, 60% were related to male-to-male sexual contact, 4% from intravenous drug use, 2% from male-to-male sexual contact and intravenous drug use, 33% from heterosexual sexual contact, and 1% from other sources. Guided by the health belief model (HBM), this qualitative study sought to understand the lived experiences of HIV positive adult men who have sex with men (MSM) living in Florida, regarding their preinfection perceptions of risk of contracting HIV. The HBM guided this study as it examined health-related decision making and has been used in previous HIV prevention studies. A purposive sample of 11 HIV positive, adult MSM, living in Florida, who were knowledgeable and willing to discuss their HIV perceptions and lived experiences, were interviewed. Data analysis procedures included coding and categorizing the data, validation of the codes, identification of patterns and themes, interpretation of the data, and member checks. Participants had a general knowledge of HIV, and 7 out of the 11 men recognized they were at risk for HIV due to engaging in unprotected sex and substance abuse practices. Seven participants reported having access to HIV prevention tools but that they did not access these tools. All participants reported receiving ongoing health care. Developing HIV prevention programs targeting those engaging in at risk behaviors has the potential to produce positive social change by increasing HIV prevention education, testing opportunities, and treatment options.

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