Impact of religiosity on the sexual risk behaviors of young men who have sex with men

Robert Garofalo*, Lisa M. Kuhns, Marco Hidalgo, Travis Gayles, Soyang Kwon, Abigail L. Muldoon, Brian Mustanski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Young men who have sex with men (YMSM), particularly Black YMSM, bear a disproportionate burden of new human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infections in the United States. Several studies support the positive and protective role of religion in health and the prevention of morbidity and mortality. However, little empirical research has been conducted looking at religion with the context of YMSM and HIV prevention. We examined the impact of religious attendance and faithfulness on sexual risk among a community-based sample of 450 YMSM in Chicago ages 16 to 20. Participants were mostly racial/ethnic minorities, that is, Black (53.4%) and Latino (19.9%). Multivariate logistic regression indicated that faithfulness in combination with frequent formal religious attendance was associated with a decrease in reported number of unprotected anal sex acts, including unprotected receptive anal sex with male partners. These association trends were also found for the Black YMSM in our sample, suggesting that religious involvement and faithfulness is a potential protective factor for the acquisition of HIV among this high-risk population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)590-598
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of sex research
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 13 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Gender Studies
  • History and Philosophy of Science
  • Sociology and Political Science


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