In India, there are categories of MSM (hijras, kothis, double-deckers, panthis and bisexuals), which are generally associated with different HIV-risk behaviors. Our objective was to quantify differences across MSM identities (n = 357) and assess the extent they conform to typecasts that prevail in policy-orientated discourse. More feminine kothis (26%) and hijras (13%) mostly reported receptive sex, and masculine panthis (15%) and bisexuals (23%) insertive anal sex. However, behavior did not always conform to expectation, with 25% and 16% of the sample reporting both insertive and receptive anal intercourse with known and unknown noncommercial partners, respectively (p 0.000). Although behavior often complied with stereotyped role and identity, male-with-male sexual practices were fluid. Reification of these categories in an intervention context may hinder our understanding of the differential HIV risk among MSM.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The India AIDS Initiative, including this study, is supported by a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Michel Alary is a National Researcher of the Fonds de la Recherche en Santé du Québec, Canada (Grant # 8722). The authors confirm that the work in this article has not been published elsewhere.