Date of Award


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name


Organizational Unit

College of Arts Humanities and Social Sciences

First Advisor

Alejandro Cerón, Ph.D.


Access, Health, HIV, Medical anthropology, Orlando, Stigma


In 2017, The CDC (center for disease control and prevention) released a memo confirming popular medical opinion that an HIV positive person with an undetectable viral load was unable to transmit the HIV virus. While treatment and prevention options are advancing, this advancement may not translate directly into reduced stigma, which is produced and reproduced by external barriers to accessing healthcare, and internalized by HIV positive people as emotional trauma. This research explores the relationship between the availability of contemporary resources for the treatment and prevention of HIV/AIDS, and the environment of stigma experienced by positive gay and bisexual men in Orlando, Florida, a city among those leading the nation in new infections. The study found that structural barriers to access, such as a lack of public transit and the high price of medications, created an uneven distribution of available treatment and resources. It also found that both external experiences of stigma and exclusion, and social and cultural attitudes about queerness and HIV transmission, caused HIV positive gay and bisexual men to internalize trauma. Finally, the study revealed that HIV positive gay and bisexual men approached the management of stigma using various strategies, most commonly focusing on the formation of communities and safe spaces, which were largely determined by personal preference and life experience.

Publication Statement

Copyright is held by the author. User is responsible for all copyright compliance.

Rights Holder

Julian Cerrell Nilsson


Received from ProQuest

File Format




File Size

97 p.


Cultural anthropology