HYBRID EVENT: You can participate in person at Singapore or Virtually from your home or work.

3rd Edition of

International Public Health Conference

March 21-23, 2024 | Singapore

IPHC 2023

Paul Anthony Burns

Speaker at International Public Health Conference 2023 - Paul Anthony Burns
University of Mississippi Medical Center, United States

Title : Utilizing immersive theatre to reduce HIV-Related stigma and discrimination among sexual minority populations


Background: Despite advances in biomedical HIV prevention modalities such as pre-exposure prophylaxis to prevent the transmission of HIV, racial/ethnic and sexual/gender minority populations are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic. Alarming rates of HIV have persisted among Black gay and bisexual men, particularly in Southern states.

Methods: Utilizing data from the ViiV ACCELERATE! Initiative, we explored the impact of As Much As I Can, an immersive theatre production, on HIV-related stigma behaviors. A self-administered post-performance survey was conducted with a cohort (n=322) of randomly selected audience members.

Results: Overall, the results showed participants had a highly favorable experience, rating the performance with a mean score of 9.77/ 10. Respondents indicated they intended to change behaviors to promote HIV prevention education and to reduce stigma and discrimination including: 1) Say something if I hear stigmatizing language against people living with HIV (75.4%), 2) Say something if I hear anti-gay language (69.7%) and 3) Tell others about HIV prevention options (e.g., PrEP, PEP, condoms (64.1%). The findings show there is an association between HIV-related behavior intention and linkage to HIV care.  Respondents who reported they were more likely to say something about HIV stigma were almost 3 times (O.R. 2.77; 95% C.I. 0.98 – 7.8) more likely to indicate they would follow up with a healthcare professional.

Conclusions: This study suggests that immersive theatre is an effective method for communicating HIV prevention education and reducing HIV-related structural stigma and discrimination that increases HIV vulnerability for Black sexual minority men.


Dr. Burns is an Assistant Professor at the University of Mississippi Medical Center/John D. Bower School of Population Health in the Department of Population Health Science. His work focuses on identifying the pathways and mechanisms through which structural (macrosocial) and social (behavioral and cultural) factors influence HIV vulnerability among key populations. His  research findings have subsequently been used to: 1) develop and test theoretically grounded measurements of social and spatial factors that influence HIV-related sexual risk behavior, 2) assess the social and environmental determinants of HIV/AIDS and 3) implement community-engaged solutions to improve access and uptake of live-saving HIV prevention. The implications of his work are multilevel and multidisciplinary and span the life- course—with an emphasis on vulnerable populations, including adolescents and youth, women, and girls, and racial/ ethnic and sexual/gender minorities, both in the U.S. and globally.