At the intersection of marginalised identities: lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people's experiences of injecting drug use and hepatitis C seroconversion

Rachel M Deacon, Julie Mooney-Somers, Carla Treloar, Lisa Maher
Health & Social Care in the Community 2013, 21 (4): 402-10
Although the levels of injecting drug use among lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) populations are high, we know little about their experiences of injecting drugs or living with hepatitis C virus (HCV) infection. The loss of traditional family and cultural ties means connection to community is important to the well-being of LGBT populations. Although some kinds of drug use are normalised within many LGBT communities, injecting drug use continues to be stigmatised. This exploratory qualitative study of people with newly acquired HCV used semi-structured interviews to explore participants' understandings and awareness of HCV, seroconversion, testing, diagnosis and treatment. We present a secondary thematic analysis of eight LGBT participants of the experience of injecting drugs, living with HCV and having a marginalised sexual or gender identity. Community was central to the participants' accounts. Drug use facilitated connection to a chosen community by suppressing sexual or gender desires allows them to fit in to the mainstream; enacting LGBT community norms of behaviour; and connection through shared drug use. Participants also described feeling afraid to come out about their drug use to LGBT peers because of the associated stigma of HCV. They described a similar stigma associated with HIV within the people who inject drugs (PWID) community. Thus, the combination of being LGBT/living with HIV (a gay disease) and injecting drugs/living with HCV (a junkie's disease) left them in a kind of no-man's-land. Health professionals working in drug and HCV care services need to develop capacity in providing culturally appropriate health-care for LGBT PWID.

Full Text Links

Find Full Text Links for this Article


You are not logged in. Sign Up or Log In to join the discussion.

Related Papers

Remove bar
Read by QxMD icon Read

Save your favorite articles in one place with a free QxMD account.


Search Tips

Use Boolean operators: AND/OR

diabetic AND foot
diabetes OR diabetic

Exclude a word using the 'minus' sign

Virchow -triad

Use Parentheses

water AND (cup OR glass)

Add an asterisk (*) at end of a word to include word stems

Neuro* will search for Neurology, Neuroscientist, Neurological, and so on

Use quotes to search for an exact phrase

"primary prevention of cancer"
(heart or cardiac or cardio*) AND arrest -"American Heart Association"