This is a preprint
Abstract

While sexual health literature identifies youths’ sexual health information sources and its impact on their sexual practices, little is known about the way youth evaluate the credibility of this information. This knowledge gap is significant among young, Black gay and other men who have sex with men (YBGM) who belong to intersectional populations disproportionately impacted by HIV and other STIs—youth, Black Canadians, gay and other men who have sex with men. We conducted a qualitative study using constructivist grounded theory to explore YBGM’s approaches to evaluating sexual health information sources’ credibility. Intersectionality and the socioecological model informed our analysis. We explored connections between social locations (e.g., race, sexual orientation) and socio-ecological environments and how their impact shaped YBGM’s evaluation of sexual health information. Findings revealed evaluation strategies varied by source: friends, the internet and healthcare providers. Friends’ information was deemed credible if they were older, shared social locations and provided embodied testimonials. Testimonials mirrored oral-traditions specific to Black populations where oral narratives help disseminate sensitive information in a culturally relevant way. Website selection was informed by YBGM’s social locations and ranged from being implicitly trusted to assessed by its association with established healthcare organizations. Many participants’ acceptance of healthcare providers’ information revealed patient-client power imbalances and a perception that providers’ actions reflected their institutions’ sexual health policies. Findings highlight a need for sexual health services to create culturally effective ways to disseminate information that accounts for the histories, contexts and approaches YBGM use to identify credible sources.

Keywords

Black, HIV, men who have sex with other men, sexual health, sexual health information, sexual health literacy, STI, youth

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Additional Information

ISSN
2291-7063
Print ISSN
1188-4517
Launched on MUSE
2020-10-15
Open Access
No
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