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Journal of Community Health

, Volume 41, Issue 6, pp 1204–1211 | Cite as

The Utility of a Syndemic Framework in Understanding Chronic Disease Management Among HIV-Infected and Type 2 Diabetic Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • Blaire Byg
  • Angela Robertson Bazzi
  • Danielle Funk
  • Bonface James
  • Jennifer Potter
Original Paper
  • 352 Downloads

Abstract

Syndemic theory posits that epidemics of multiple physical and psychosocial problems co-occur among disadvantaged groups due to adverse social conditions. Although sexual minority populations are often stigmatized and vulnerable to multiple health problems, the syndemic perspective has been underutilized in understanding chronic disease. To assess the potential utility of this perspective in understanding the management of co-occurring HIV and Type 2 diabetes, we used linear regression to examine glycemic control (A1c) among men who have sex with men (MSM) with both HIV and Type 2 diabetes (n = 88). Bivariable linear regression explored potential syndemic correlates of inadequate glycemic control. Compared to those with adequate glycemic control (A1c ≤ 7.5 %), more men with inadequate glycemic control (A1c > 7.5 %) had hypertension (70 vs. 46 %, p = 0.034), high triglycerides (93 vs. 61 %, p = 0.002), depression (67 vs. 39 %, p = 0.018), current substance abuse (15 vs. 2 %, p = 0.014), and detectable levels of HIV (i.e., viral load ≥75 copies per ml blood; 30 vs. 10 %, p = 0.019). In multivariable regression controlling for age, the factors that were independently associated with higher A1c were high triglycerides, substance use, and detectable HIV viral load, suggesting that chronic disease management among MSM is complex and challenging for patients and providers. Findings also suggest that syndemic theory can be a clarifying lens for understanding chronic disease management among sexual minority stigmatized populations. Interventions targeting single conditions may be inadequate when multiple conditions co-occur; thus, research using a syndemic framework may be helpful in identifying intervention strategies that target multiple co-occurring conditions.

Keywords

Syndemics HIV Diabetes MSM Chronic disease management 

Notes

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Blaire Byg
    • 1
  • Angela Robertson Bazzi
    • 1
    • 3
  • Danielle Funk
    • 1
  • Bonface James
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jennifer Potter
    • 1
    • 2
    • 4
  1. 1.Fenway Community Health CenterBostonUSA
  2. 2.Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA
  3. 3.Department of Community Health Sciences, School of Public HealthBoston UniversityBostonUSA
  4. 4.Beth Israel Deaconess Medical CenterBostonUSA

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