Unpacking the racial disparity in HIV rates: The effect of race on risky sexual behavior among Black young men who have sex with men (YMSM)

Elise M. Clerkin, Michael E. Newcomb, Brian Mustanski*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

58 Scopus citations

Abstract

The purpose of this study is to evaluate the large disparity in HIV prevalence rates between young Black and White Americans, including young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Research focusing on individual behaviors has proven insufficient to explain the disproportionately high rate of HIV among Black YMSM. The purpose of the present study was to gain a greater understanding of the pronounced racial disparity in HIV by evaluating whether YMSM are more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors as a function of their partner's race. Participants included 117 YMSM from a longitudinal study evaluating lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth (ages 16-20 at baseline), who reported characteristics and risk behaviors of up to 9 sexual partners over an 18-month period. Results indicated that participants were less likely to have unprotected sex with Black partners, and this finding was not driven by a response bias (i.e., Black YMSM did not appear to be minimizing their reports of unprotected sex). Furthermore, there was support for the hypothesis that participants' sexual networks were partially determined by their race insofar as sexual partnerships were much more likely to be intra-racial (as opposed to interracial). It is possible that dyad- and sexual network-level factors may be needed to understand racial disparities in HIV among YMSM.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)237-243
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Behavioral Medicine
Volume34
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1 2011

Keywords

  • Gay
  • HIV disparity
  • Race
  • YMSM

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Psychology(all)
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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