Motivating Men Who Have Sex with Men Closet Gays to Get Tested for HIV

Elizabeth M. Malonzo


The cloak of secrecy that some men throw around their homosexuality does not suit their physical health once they contract the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV). Being closeted is a deterrent for getting tested for HIV; thus, this study was conducted to determine how to motivate closet gays to be tested for HIV. Most closeted individuals hide in the shadows of lies and live in a contradiction of love, hate, and fear. Many closet homosexuals struggle (or have struggled) with an internal conflict: it’s like, deep down feeling that their affection for and attraction to the same sex just can’t be right. We conducted interview to seven identified closet gays from November to December 2013 with guide questions that identified key features and preferences of why they are closet gays and why they did not submit themselves for HIV testing. Participants reported, being unaware that HIV is asymptomatic, to which they did not consider themselves at risk. They are not willing to come out for fear of social stigma in their workplace and the severity of antihomosexual attitudes in their family and community. Fear, shame, doubt of confidentiality of the result and unaware of the risk of unsafe sexual practice – no condom use, were reasons why they don’t want to get tested for HIV. We identified 4 key themes with regards to preferences and features of an effective ways to motivate HIV testing among MSM closet gays: addressing fear, enhancing risk perception, avoiding stigmatizing, and perception on HIV testing in the center. Although its results must be cautiously considered, many of the conclusions are clear. The results of this study serve as the basis to design an effective campaign to motivate HIV testing among MSM closet gays in Davao City. These interventions should include motivations that reduce the fear of getting tested and increase the risk perception of participants. They should also market the venue to where the testing will be conducted, the professionals who will perform the tests, and the test itself.


closet MSM gays, motivation to get tested for HIV, Davao City

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