Human Chimera Research’s Huge (and Thorny) Potential The National Institutes of Health (NIH) reversed policy barring funding from research involving human chimeras (mixtures of human cells with animal embryos) which can yield major human development discoveries.
The minority stress theory suggests that health disparities experienced by gay and bisexual men (GBM) and other sexual minorities can be explained in terms of stigma-related stressors such as discrimination at work, school, religious institutions, communities and families. The unique stressors of an HIV-positive status experienced by GBM, however, has been overlooked within research on minority stress.
Dr. Rendina has been conducting HIV research with GBM for more than ten years. He explained the need to thoroughly test “the role of internalized stigma about sexual orientation, or internalized homophobia, and internalized HIV stigma within a unified model to see whether one or both have an impact on HIV-positive gay or bisexual men.” Although it is already established that GBM are negatively impacted by internalized sexual minority stigma, the purpose of this study was to further explore the impact of HIV-related stressors on the health of GBM.
While bearing the disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDs in the US, African American women also face multi-level stigma at social, community and institutional levels, which is exacerbated by their HIV-positive status.
Dr. Fletcher interviewed 42 African American women with HIV/AIDS living in South Carolina. She found that “HIV/AIDS stigma permeated many dimensions of women’s lives, including the research process.” Using narrative data and the Social Ecological Model, Dr. Fletcher’s findings demonstrate the need for an enhanced understanding of multi-level stigma experienced by HIV-positive African American women to inform innovative and tailored approaches.“Settings that are generally regarded as safe spaces for most individuals are not necessarily safe for HIV-positive African American women due to the intersections of stigma in places where women “live, work, love, play, and pray,” Dr. Fletcher explained.
Although many women in the study identified their homes as safe spaces to complete interviews, several participants completed interviews in Dr. Fletcher’s car to enhance privacy. Dr. Fletcher contends “ethical challenges in the research process emanating from additive, layered stigma can limit the availability of invulnerable research spaces.” Dr. Fletcher shared that her research and training at RETI has offered her a strong foundation to identify and address ethical issues that may arise while engaging communities in the HIV research process.
Please click here for more information on the Fordham University HIV Prevention Research Ethics Training Institute (RETI).