AIDS and behavior 2017 04 27() doi 10.1007/s10461-017-1774-x
Many gay, bisexual, and transgender (GBT) people of color (POC) join house and/or constructed family communities, which serve as support networks composed mostly of other non-biologically related GBT/POC. These networks can decrease or increase the risk of exposure to HIV via multiple mechanisms (e.g., providing informal sexual safety education versus stigmatizing family members with HIV, encouraging sexual safety practices versus unsafe escorting, teaching self-care versus substance use) but act to support family members in the face of social and economic hardship. Researchers interviewed ten members of these social networks in the Boston metro area of the US and produced a saturated grounded theory analysis to explore the role of gay family/house networks in HIV risk management. While network members utilized HIV prevention resources, interviewees described how their efficacy was related to the intentions of leadership and strength of kinship boundaries within their community, economic opportunities, and communication skills. Clinical and research implications are discussed.