Research Summary

Reducing Health Inequalities among Sexual Minorities in India: Generating Evidence for Action

Sexual and gender minorities such as men who have sex with men and hijras/trans women in India experience higher levels of physical and mental health problems when compared to the general population. Available evidence strongly suggest that stigma and discrimination faced by sexual and gender minorities could be contributing to the health inequalities experienced by them. My proposed research, by using syndemic theory and intersectionality framework, aims to document and explain the high levels of physical and mental health problems among sexual and gender minorities in India. I will explore the causes behind clustering of psychosocial health problems (syndemics) among sexual and gender minorities; whether and in what ways the clustering of psychosocial health problems synergistically increase the risk for HIV; and whether interventions that try to simultaneously address the syndemic conditions can reduce the risk for HIV and promote health among sexual and gender minorities. Thus, the proposed project will advance theory and identify evidence-based actions to reduce health inequalities among sexual and gender minorities in India. Active engagement with community agencies and government health officials will ensure translation of research evidence into public health action.

Figure Legend: Intersecting/Multiple stigmas faced by men who have sex with men (MSM) and trans women leading to syndemics and disparities in HIV risk: A preliminary model