We tested a theory of syndemic production among men who have sex with men (MSM) using data from a large cohort study.
Participants were 1551 men from the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study enrolled at 4 study sites: Baltimore, Maryland–Washington, DC; Chicago, Illinois; Los Angeles, California; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Participants who attended semiannual visits from April 1, 2008, to March 31, 2009, completed an additional survey that captured data about events throughout their life course thought to be related to syndemic production.
Using multivariate analysis, we found that the majority of life-course predictor variables (e.g., victimization, internalized homophobia) were significantly associated with both the syndemic condition and the component psychosocial health outcomes (depressive symptoms, stress, stimulant use, sexual compulsivity, intimate partner violence). A nested negative binomial analysis showed that the overall life course significantly explained variability in the syndemic outcomes (χ2 = 247.94; P < .001; df = 22).
We identified life-course events and conditions related to syndemic production that may help to inform innovative interventions that will effectively disentangle interconnecting health problems and promote health among MSM.