Background: Gay, bisexual, and men who have sex with men (MSM) living in the Southeastern United States are at high risk of contracting HIV, and those in rural communities experience challenges in accessing HIV prevention and treatment.

Methods: Seven health care workers and 17 MSM in rural health care districts participated in semi-structured interviews. A theory-informed thematic analysis approach was used to summarize and compare perspectives between health care workers and MSM participants.

Results: Stigma, insufficient resources, and social structures of rural life emerged as barriers to accessing HIV-related services

Conclusions: Overcoming these barriers are necessary to reduce HIV infection and improve outcomes for MSM living with HIV. The findings come at a critical time given the focus on rural areas affected by HIV as announced in United States’ Ending the HIV Epidemic Initiative. Additional resources need to be allocated and research is needed to understand the relationship among rural health, HIV, and MSM.

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

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