Heal this: Healthcare experiences of gay men

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Social Sciences


Robert Bogdan


Heal, Men, Health care, AIDS, Gender, Gay

Subject Categories

Arts and Humanities | Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Gender and Sexuality | Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Sociology | Women's Studies


This dissertation is a qualitative study of gay men's healthcare experiences in one community. This study explores how gay men access healthcare, the problems they face, and examines the interaction between this group of people and the mainstream healthcare community. The primary data include: (1) detailed interviews (with 9 men who are HIV+, 9 men who have AIDS, 9 men who are HIV negative and seeking prophylactic care, two infectious disease physicians who treat people living with HIV/AIDS, one treatment adherence nurse, one infectious disease nurse practitioner, and one family practice doctor) using open ended questions; (2) notes from observations of home health visits and support groups for those infected with HIV. The study explores the issues and experiences of how gay men manage to obtain treatment in a medical system that is often prejudiced and unaccommodating to their needs. By focusing on these men's descriptions of the problems they encountered and what would have met their needs in those situations, it is possible to discern what gay-friendly healthcare might look like. The dissertation concludes with a discussion of the implications of this research for the organization of gay-friendly healthcare services.


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