Mental health problems, including anxiety and depression, are a common comorbidity among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (GBMSM) living with HIV. Informed by social support theory, health navigation is a strengths-based intervention that has been demonstrated to improve HIV care outcomes. The purpose of this study was to explore how health navigation influences the mental health of GBMSM living with HIV. We analyzed longitudinal qualitative in-depth interviews conducted with GBMSM (n = 29) in a 12-month multi-component intervention to improve HIV care outcomes, including health navigation. We used narrative and thematic analytic approaches to identify salient themes, including if and how themes changed over time. Participants described that navigator support helped them maintain good mental health, prevent crises and respond to crises. Navigator support included providing motivational messaging, facilitating participants’ control over their health and improving access to care, which aided with supporting mental health. Navigators also responded to acute crises by providing guidance for those newly diagnosed with HIV and support for those experiencing critical life events. Participants emphasized the importance of feeling heard and valued by their navigators and gaining hope for the future as key to their wellbeing. In conclusion, health navigation may be an effective intervention for promoting mental health among GBMSM living with HIV. Additional research is needed to examine mediating pathways between navigation and mental health, including informational support, or if navigator support moderates the relationship between stressors and mental health outcomes for GBMSM.

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