The purpose of this study was to compare the social network characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) to non-MSM (NMSM) in a sample of predominately African American drug users. Specifically, we were interested in examining the differences in structure of the networks and drug and sexual risk partners within the network.
Data came from 481 male participants who reported having >=1 sex partner in the past 90 days. MSM was defined as having sex with a male. Data on social network composition were collected using a Social Network Inventory.
Of 481 men, 7% (n=32) were categorized as MSM. Nearly two-thirds of MSM did not identify as gay. MSM were more likely to be HIV positive as compared to men who did not have sex with men. Social networks of MSM were younger and a greater proportion were HIV positive. After adjusting for HIV status, networks of MSM were less dense, indicating fewer connections among network members. Among injection drug using men in the sample, MSM reported a greater number of needle sharing networks than NMSM.
These findings underscore the importance of including social network factors in investigations of HIV risk among MSM. Further studies should focus on dynamics within a network and how they may operate to affect behavior and health.
MSM; social networks; HIV
Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately burdened by HIV/AIDS. Despite this burden there has been a shortage of research on HIV interventions for black MSM. This article provides a comprehensive review of the literature on interventions for black MSM to identify effective HIV prevention intervention strategies for black MSM.
We searched 3 databases: Pubmed, Scopus, and Google Scholar to identify peer-reviewed articles and used the following search terms: African American or black; MSM or men who have sex with men and women (MSMW); HIV; program or intervention; and evaluation or intervention science or implementation research. We included research articles that assessed interventions for black men who have sex with men. We included studies that used an experimental, quasi-experimental, or pre-post test design as well as formative research studies. We also searched the CDC and NIH websites to identify planned and on-going intervention studies. We identified a total of 23 studies to include in the review.
We identified 12 completed studies of interventions for black MSM. Eight of these 12 interventions aimed to reduce HIV risk behaviors and 5 found a significant reduction in HIV risk behavior over time. We identified 4 health service intervention studies for young black MSM.
Behavior change interventions are effective at reducing HIV risk behaviors among black MSM. However, relying only on behavioral interventions that aim to reduce HIV risk behavior will most likely not have a population-level effect on HIV infection among black MSM. There is a compelling and urgent need to develop and test comprehensive HIV testing, linkage to care, retention in care and adherence interventions for black MSM.
Black men who have sex with men; HIV; Implementation research; Implementation science; Evaluation
To address the role of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/sexually transmitted disease (STD) epidemic in China.
To explore the prevalence of risky sexual behaviors and the existing prevention efforts among men who have sex with men (MSM) in China.
Review of behavioral and STD/HIV prevention studies addressing MSM in China.
Sexual risk behaviors including unprotected group sex, anal sex, casual sex, and commercial sex were prevalent among Chinese MSM. Many Chinese MSM also engaged in unprotected sex with both men and women. Most MSM either did not perceive that they were at risk of HIV/AIDS or underestimated their risk of infection. Surveillance and intervention research among these men are still in the preliminary stages.
Chinese MSM are at risk for HIV/STD infection and potential transmission of HIV to the general population. In addition to sexual risk reduction among MSM, reduction of homosexualityrelated stigma should be part of effective intervention efforts. Volunteers from the MSM community and health care workers in primary health care system may serve as valuable resources for HIV/STD prevention and control among MSM.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) continue to be disproportionately impacted by HIV and sexually transmitted diseases (STD). This study was designed to explore sexual risk among MSM using community-based participatory research (CBPR). An academic-community partnership conducted nine focus groups with 88 MSM. Participants self-identified as African American/Black (n=28), Hispanic/Latino (n=33), white (n=21), and bi-racial/ethnic (n=6). Mean age was 27 (range 18–60) years. Grounded theory was used. Twelve themes related to HIV risk emerged, including low HIV and STD knowledge particularly among Latino MSM and MSM who use the Internet for sexual networking; stereotyping of African American MSM as sexually “dominant” and Latino MSM as less likely to be HIV infected; and the eroticization of “barebacking.” Twelve intervention approaches also were identified, including developing culturally congruent programming using community-identified assets; harnessing social media used by informal networks of MSM; and promoting protection within the context of intimate relationships. A community forum was held to develop recommendations and move these themes to action.
Adopting socioecological, intersectionality, and lifecourse theoretical frameworks may enhance our understanding of the production of syndemic adverse health outcomes among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM). From this perspective, we present preliminary data from three related studies that suggest ways in which social contexts may influence the health of MSM. The first study, using cross-sectional data, looked at migration of MSM to the gay resort area of South Florida, and found that amount of time lived in the area was associated with risk behaviors and HIV infection. The second study, using qualitative interviews, observed complex interactions between neighborhood-level social environments and individual-level racial and sexual identity among MSM in New York City. The third study, using egocentric network analysis with a sample of African American MSM in Baltimore, found that sexual partners were more likely to be found through face-to-face means than the Internet. They also observed that those who co-resided with a sex partner had larger networks of people to depend on for social and financial support, but had the same size sexual networks as those who did not live with a partner. Overall, these findings suggest the need for further investigation into the role of macro-level social forces on the emotional, behavioral, and physical health of urban MSM.
Homosexuality; Male; Urban health; Social environment
In the U.S., incidence of HIV infection among men who have sex with men (MSM) has steadily increased since the 1990s. This points to a need for innovation to address both emerging trends as well as longer-standing disparities in HIV risk and transmission among MSM, such as the elevated rates of HIV/STIs among African American MSM and methamphetamine users. While couple-based sexual risk reduction interventions are a promising avenue to reduce HIV/STI transmission, prior research has been almost exclusively with heterosexual couples. We sought to adapt an existing, evidence-based intervention—originally developed and tested with heterosexual couples—for a new target population consisting of African American MSM in a longer-term same-sex relationship where at least one partner uses methamphetamine. The adaptation process primarily drew from data obtained from a series of focus groups with 8 couples from the target population. Attention is given to the methods used to overcome challenges faced in this adaptation process: limited time, a lead investigator who is phenotypically different from the target population, a dearth of descriptive information on the experiences and worldviews among the target population, and a concomitant lack of topical experts. We also describe a visualization tool used to ensure that the adaptation process promotes and maintains adherence to the theory that guides the intervention and behavior change. The process culminated with an intervention adapted for the new target population as well as preliminary indications that a couple-based sexual-risk reduction intervention for African American, methamphetamine-involved male couples is feasible and attractive.
HIV; prevention; adaptation; men who have sex with men; African American; methamphetamine; couples.
American Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV, but the factors associated with this concentrated epidemic are not fully understood.
Black MSM were enrolled in 6 US cities to evaluate a multi-component prevention intervention, with the current analysis focusing on the correlates of being newly diagnosed with HIV compared to being HIV-uninfected or previously diagnosed with HIV.
HPTN 061 enrolled 1553 Black MSM whose median age was 40; 30% self-identified exclusively as gay or homosexual, 29% exclusively as bisexual, and 3% as transgender. About 1/6th (16.2%) were previously diagnosed with HIV (PD); of 1263 participants without a prior HIV diagnosis 7.6% were newly diagnosed (ND). Compared to PD, ND Black MSM were younger (p<0.001); less likely to be living with a primary partner (p<0.001); more likely to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.011) or chlamydia (p = 0.020). Compared to HIV-uninfected Black MSM, ND were more likely to report unprotected receptive anal intercourse (URAI) with a male partner in the last 6 months (p<0.001); and to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.004), and urethral (p = 0.025) or rectal chlamydia (p<0.001). They were less likely to report female (p = 0.002) or transgender partners (p = 0.018). Multivariate logistic regression analyses found that ND Black MSM were significantly more likely than HIV-uninfected peers to be unemployed; have STIs, and engage in URAI. Almost half the men in each group were poor, had depressive symptoms, and expressed internalized homophobia.
ND HIV-infected Black MSM were more likely to be unemployed, have bacterial STIs and engage in URAI than other Black MSM. Culturally-tailored programs that address economic disenfranchisement, increase engagement in care, screen for STIs, in conjunction with safer sex prevention interventions, may help to decrease further transmission in this heavily affected community.
The Internet has become an increasingly popular venue for men who have sex with men (MSM) to meet potential sex partners. Given this rapid increase in online sex-seeking among MSM, Internet-based interventions represent an important HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) prevention strategy. Unfortunately, black and Hispanic MSM, who are disproportionately impacted by the HIV epidemic in the United States, have been underrepresented in online research studies.
Our objective was to examine and quantify factors associated with underrecruitment and underretention of MSM of color in an online HIV behavioral risk research study of MSM recruited from an online social networking site.
Internet-using MSM were recruited through banner advertisements on MySpace.com targeted at men who reported in their MySpace profile their age as at least 18 and their sexual orientation as gay, bisexual, or unsure. Multivariable logistic regression models were used to estimate the odds stratified by race and ethnicity of the MySpace user clicking through the banner advertisement. To characterize survey retention, Kaplan-Meier survival curves and multivariable Cox proportional hazards models identified factors associated with survey dropout.
Over 30,000 MySpace users clicked on the study banner advertisements (click-through rate of 0.37%, or 30,599 clicks from 8,257,271 impressions). Black (0.36% or 6474 clicks from 1,785,088 impressions) and Hispanic (0.35% or 8873 clicks from 2,510,434 impressions) MySpace users had a lower click-through rate compared with white (0.48% or 6995 clicks from 1,464,262 impressions) MySpace users. However, black men had increased odds of click-through for advertisements displaying a black model versus a white model (adjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.83, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.72 - 1.95), and Hispanic participants had increased odds of click-through when shown an advertisement displaying an Asian model versus a white model (adjusted OR = 1.70, 95% CI 1.62 - 1.79). Of the 9005 men who consented to participate, 6258 (69%) completed the entire survey. Among participants reporting only male sex partners, black non-Hispanic and Hispanic participants were significantly more likely to drop out of the survey relative to white non-Hispanic participants (hazard ratio [HR] = 1.6, 95% CI 1.4 - 1.8 and HR = 1.3, 95% CI 1.1 - 1.4, respectively). Men with a college-level of education were more likely to complete the survey than those with a high-school level of education (HR = 0.8, 95% CI 0.7 - 0.9), while men who self-identified as heterosexual were more likely to drop out of the survey compared with men who self-identified as gay (HR = 2.1, 95% CI 1.1 - 3.7).
This analysis identified several factors associated with recruitment and retention of MSM in an online survey. Differential click-through rates and increased survey dropout by MSM of color indicate that methods to recruit and retain black and Hispanic MSM in Internet-based research studies are paramount. Although targeting banner advertisements to MSM of color by changing the racial/ethnic composition of the advertisements may increase click-through, decreasing attrition of these study participants once they are engaged in the survey remains a challenge.
HIV infections/prevention and control; Internet; homosexuality male; research methodology; behavioral research
Dramatic increases in HIV-incidence rates have been documented for Black men who have sex with men (MSM). Moreover, MSM has become a more visible HIV-transmission route in the Black community, in part due to public interest in the “down low” (i.e., “straight” men who also have sex with men). Interviews were conducted with 21 Black MSM in central Brooklyn, New York City, in efforts to understand the diversity of MSM experience in a low income, high HIV-prevalence community. Two thirds of the men identified as either heterosexual (43%) or bisexual (24%) and 15 (71%) MSM reported recent sex with women. Conformity to masculine social role expectations made it difficult to identify sex partners in the community; therefore, men relied on private sex clubs and the Internet. The findings suggest that stigma surrounding both HIV and homosexuality may effectively insure that nonheterosexual preferences and practices remain hidden in the Black community. A focus on sexual orientation and bisexuality has obscured the issue of race in the HIV/AIDS epidemic among Black MSM. In the long term, public health promotion and HIV prevention will require greater tolerance and acceptance of sexual diversity in the Black community.
Black MSM; Drug use; HIV; Sexual risk
INTRODUCTION: Black men who have sex with men (MSM) and women but who do not identify as gay or disclose their bisexual activities to main female partners, also known as men "on the down-low," have been cited as the main reason for the increase in HIV infections in black women. METHODS: Three online databases (PsychInfo, MEDLINE and AIDSLINE) were searched for scientific articles related to men on the down-low. A total of 24 articles and two conference abstracts were selected for review. RESULTS: Data from existing studies of MSM reveal low agreement between professed sexual identity and corresponding sexual behavior among black and other MSM; show that black MSM are more likely than MSM of other racial or ethnic groups to be bisexually active or identified; and, compared with white MSM, are less likely to disclose their bisexual or homosexual activities to others. However, black MSM who do not disclose their homosexual or bisexual activities engage in a lower prevalence of HIV risks than black MSM who do disclose; and black men who are currently bisexually active account for a very small proportion of the overall population of black men (2%). CONCLUSION: The high prevalence of HIV in the black community and the greater likelihood of bisexuality among black men place heterosexual black women at risk for HIV infection. However, the contribution of high-risk heterosexual black men to the rising HIV caseload among black women has been largely ignored. Future research must evaluate the relative contributions of bisexual men and exclusively heterosexual black men to HIV cases among black women.
The role of men who have sex with men (MSM) in the African HIV epidemic is gaining recognition yet capacity to address the HIV prevention needs of this group is limited. HIV testing and counselling is not only a critical entry point for biomedical HIV prevention interventions, such as pre-exposure prophylaxis, rectal microbicides and early treatment initiation, but is also an opportunity for focused risk reduction counselling that can support individuals living in difficult circumstances. For prevention efforts to succeed, however, MSM need to access services and they will only do so if these are non-judgmental, informative, focused on their needs, and of clear benefit. This study aimed to understand Kenyan providers' attitudes towards and experiences with counselling MSM in a research clinic targeting this group for HIV prevention. We used in-depth interviews to explore values, attitudes and cognitive and social constructs of 13 counsellors and 3 clinicians providing services to MSM at this clinic. Service providers felt that despite their growing experience, more targeted training would have been helpful to improve their effectiveness in MSM-specific risk reduction counselling. They wanted greater familiarity with MSM in Kenya to better understand the root causes of MSM risk-taking (e.g., poverty, sex work, substance abuse, misconceptions about transmission, stigma, and sexual desire) and felt frustrated at the perceived intractability of some of their clients' issues. In addition, they identified training needs on how to question men about specific risk behaviours, improved strategies for negotiating risk reduction with counselling clients, and improved support supervision from senior counsellors. This paper describes the themes arising from these interviews and makes practical recommendations on training and support supervision systems for nascent MSM HIV prevention programmes in Africa.
Young Black men who have sex with men (MSM) have among the highest rates of HIV infection in the US. Although reported rates of unprotected anal intercourse are similar to MSM of other racial/ethnic backgrounds, young Black MSM (YBMSM) aged 15–22 are 5 times more likely than comparably aged white MSM to be HIV-infected. We explored contextual social-environmental factors that may influence how YBMSM assess risk, choose partners, and make decisions about condom use.
We analyzed semi-structured interviews with 35 YBMSM (18–24) in New York City, upstate NY, and Atlanta. We used structured analytic coding based on a theoretical scheme that emerged from the data.
Perception of masculinity was the primary contextual factor influencing partner selection, risk assessment, and condom decision-making. Four primary themes emerged: 1) greater preference for partners perceived as masculine; 2) discomfort with allowing men perceived as feminine to be the insertive partner in anal intercourse; 3) a power dynamic such that partners perceived as more masculine made condom-use decisions within the dyad; and 4) use of potential partners’ perceived masculinity to assess HIV risk.
Perceived masculinity may play a significant role in HIV risk for YBMSM and may be an important concept to consider in prevention strategies directed towards this population.
Black/African American; men who have sex with men (MSM); young adult/adolescent; masculinity; HIV/AIDS; prevention heuristics; sexual risk behavior; HIV risk
Despite the moderate efficacy of HIV prevention interventions for at risk gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), MSM continue to represent the largest group of new HIV infections and the largest number of individuals living with HIV in the US. Environmental factors such as sexual minority stress increase the vulnerability of MSM for mental health problems. These mental health problems can be a barrier to consistently engaging in self-care health behaviors such as sexual risk reduction. We consider the following observations critical to identifying priorities for HIV prevention among MSM: (1) gay, bisexual and other MSM have higher rates of mental health problems than general population estimates; (2) these mental health problems co-occur with each other and interact synergistically to increase HIV risk; and (3) comorbid mental health problems may compromise the impact of prevention programs, and integrating treatment of mental health issues into prevention programs may improve program efficacy. Novel prevention interventions for at risk MSM that integrate programming with the treatment of co-occurring and interfering mental health issues are the most promising avenue to increase prevention intervention efficacy and effectiveness. By addressing significant mental health issues and supporting broad based prevention efforts at the individual and community level, there is also the potential to improve the overall quality of life and public mental health of gay, bisexual, and other MSM.
Men who have sex with men; MSM; Syndemics; HIV prevention; Mental health
Gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM) have been among the most affected populations by HIV since the AIDS pandemic was first identified in the 1980s. Evidence from a wide range of studies show that these men remain at the highest risk for HIV acquisition in both developed and developing countries, and that despite three decades of evidence of their vulnerability to HIV, they remain under-served and under-studied. Prevention strategies targeted to MSM are markedly under-funded in most countries, leading to limited access to health services including prevention, treatment, and care. We explore the global epidemic among MSM in 2008, the limited funding available globally to respond to these epidemics, and the human rights contexts and factors which drive HIV spread and limit HIV responses for these men.
What do we mean by the term MSM? MSM is a construct from the 1990s that tries to capture behavior and not identity. It was crafted to avoid stigmatizing and culturally laden terms such as gay or bisexual, which do not capture the wide diversity of orientations, sexual practices, cultures, and contextual settings in which male same-sex behaviors occur, and where HIV transmission and acquisition risks are centered. MSM includes both gay and non-gay identified men, bisexual men, and MSM who identify themselves as heterosexuals. It also includes men engaging in "situational" sex between men, such as can occur in prisons, schools, militaries or other environments; and it includes male sex workers who may be of any orientation but are often at very high risk for HIV. MSM may include some biologically male transgender persons, though some do not identify as male. And MSM includes a wide array of traditional and local terms worldwide–with enormous cultural diversity in Asia, Africa, Latin America and elsewhere. We use the term MSM here at its most inclusive.
Disproportionately high HIV/AIDS rates and frequent non-gay identification (NGI) among African American men who have sex with men or with both men and women (MSM/W) highlight the importance of understanding how HIV-positive African American MSM/W perceive safer sex, experience living with HIV, and decide to disclose their HIV status. Thirty predominately seropositive and non-gay identifying African American MSM/W in Los Angeles participated in three semi-structured focus group interviews, and a constant comparison method was used to analyze responses regarding condom use, sexual activity after an HIV diagnosis, and HIV serostatus disclosure. Condom use themes included its protective role against disease and pregnancy, acceptability concerns pertaining to aesthetic factors and effectiveness, and situational influences such as exchange sex, substance use, and suspicions from female partners. Themes regarding the impact of HIV on sexual activity included rejection, decreased partner seeking, and isolation. Serostatus disclosure themes included disclosure to selective partners and personal responsibility. Comprehensive HIV risk-reduction strategies that build social support networks, condom self-efficacy, communication skills, and a sense of collective responsibility among NGI African American MSM/W while addressing HIV stigma in the African American community as a whole are suggested.
African American MSM; Condom use; HIV disclosure; Non-gay identification
Novel methods, such as Internet-based interventions, are needed to combat the spread of HIV. While past initiatives have used the Internet to promote HIV prevention, the growing popularity, decreasing digital divide, and multi-functionality of social networking sites, such as Facebook, make this an ideal time to develop innovative ways to use online social networking sites to scale HIV prevention interventions among high-risk groups. The UCLA HOPE [Harnessing Online Peer Education] study is a longitudinal experimental study to evaluate the feasibility, acceptability, and preliminary effectiveness of using social media for peer-led HIV prevention, specifically among African American and Latino Men who have Sex with Men (MSM). No curriculum currently exists to train peer leaders in delivering culturally aware HIV prevention messages using social media. Training was created that adapted the Community Popular Opinion Leader (C-POL) model, for use on social networking sites. Peer leaders are recruited who represent the target population and have experience with both social media and community outreach. The curriculum contains the following elements: discussion and role playing exercises to integrate basic knowledge of HIV/AIDS, awareness of sociocultural HIV/AIDS issues in the age of technology, and communication methods for training peer leaders in effective, interactive social media-based HIV prevention. Ethical issues related to Facebook and health interventions are integrated throughout the sessions. Training outcomes have been developed for long-term assessment of retention and efficacy. This is the first C-POL curriculum that has been adapted for use on social networking websites. Although this curriculum has been used to target African American and Latino MSM, it has been created to allow generalization to other high-risk groups.
HIV prevention; social networking; facebook; c-pol; popular opinion leader
HIV continues to exact an enormous toll on society and to disproportionately affect gay and bisexual men and other men who have sex with men (MSM). Innovative prevention interventions are needed to reverse this trend. In August 2009, the U.S. National Institute of Mental Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention convened a meeting of scientists, community representatives, advocates, and federal partners to discuss innovative prevention-intervention science. The meeting was structured to maximize discussion of (1) healthy sex interventions, (2) community and structural interventions, (3) integrated biomedical and behavioral interventions, and (4) interventions to improve uptake of HIV testing. Presentations and discussion focused on research gaps in designing risk-reducing and sexual health-promoting interventions for MSM, including interventions to address mental health, substance use, disclosure, and stigma. This article summarizes the meeting proceedings, highlights key points, and outlines future directions.
Circumcision reduces HIV acquisition among heterosexual men in Africa, but it is unclear if circumcision may reduce HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States, or whether MSM would be willing to be circumcised if recommended.
We interviewed presumed-HIV negative MSM at gay pride events in 2006. We asked uncircumcised respondents about willingness to be circumcised if it were proven to reduce risk of HIV among MSM and perceived barriers to circumcision. Multivariate logistic regression was used to identify covariates associated with willingness to be circumcised.
Of 780 MSM, 133 (17%) were uncircumcised. Of these, 71 (53%) were willing to be circumcised. Willingness was associated with black race (exact odds ratio [OR]: 3.4, 95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.3–9.8), non-injection drug use (OR: 6.1, 95% CI: 1.8–23.7) and perceived reduced risk of penile cancer (OR: 4.7, 95% CI: 2.0–11.9). The most commonly endorsed concerns about circumcision were post-surgical pain and wound infection.
Over half of uncircumcised MSM, especially black MSM, expressed willingness to be circumcised. Perceived risks and benefits of circumcision should be a part of educational materials if circumcision is recommended for MSM in the United States.
African American young men who have sex with men (AAYMSM) represent the largest proportion of new HIV infections among MSM. While evidence-based interventions are lacking, all too often HIV interventions are implemented in a community without thoroughly understanding its needs, risks and assets. AAYMSM are not homogenous; subgroups exist that may require different approaches to be effective. The House and Ball communities represent one such subgroup. A community-engaged, mixed-methods approach was used. Participant observations, qualitative interviews (N=26), and a survey at House/Ball events (N=252) were completed. Survey data broadly describe the community. For example: 69% of survey respondents identify as gay; 25% as bisexual; 13% reported recent use of ecstasy and 11% recently participated in sex exchange. The depth of qualitative data is key for intervention development. For example, while the survey provides broad descriptions of respondents’ involvement in the House and Ball communities, leaders provided in-depth descriptions of the structure of the House and Ball scene –something vital to the development of HIV prevention programs within these communities. This kind of rigorous study is recommended prior to implementing an intervention. Findings are discussed in relation to leveraging the communities’ supportive aspects to design culturally relevant HIV prevention programs.
HIV/AIDS; African American young men who have sex with men; mixed-methods; House and Ball communities
Men who have sex with men (MSM) have become a high-risk group of HIV infection in China. To date, little is known regarding the behavioral, social and psychological characteristics in Chinese MSM, which makes the implementation of preventive and therapeutic strategies for this high-risk subpopulation of people extremely difficult.
A total of 714 questionnaires were retrieved from the database of a Chinese government-sponsored National Key Research Project titled "Risk Analysis and Strategic Prevention of HIV Transmission from MSM to the General Population in China". The respondents were categorized into a high-risk group and a control group. Their behavioral, social and psychological characteristics were comparatively analyzed.
Of the 714 MSM analyzed, 59 (8.26%) had high-risk homosexual behaviors. This sub-group of MSM had a higher in-marriage rate, a higher monthly income, heavier alcohol consumption and more serious problems with sexual abuse in childhood, intentional suicide attempts and mistaken assumption on condom's role in protecting HIV infection, as compared with the control group (P < 0.05). In contrast, the two groups did not differ significantly the sexual orientation, level of education, types of profession, drug use, condom use and experience of social stigma and discrimination (P > 0.05). A vast majority of the individuals in both behavior categories expressed support of legally protected gay clubs as well as gay marriage legislation in China. There was a strong correlation between high-risk behaviors and sexual abuse in childhood, alcohol drinking, income level and a mistaken belief in perfect HIV protection through the use of condoms.
MSM with and without high-risk homosexual behaviors have different social and psychological characteristics, which should be taken into account when implementing behavioral and therapeutic interventions aimed at preventing HIV/AIDS transmission among MSM as well as from MSM to the general population in China.
MSM; HIV infection; Sexual risk behavior; Psychological characteristics; China
This study evaluates associations between internalized homonegativity and demographic factors, drug use behaviors, sexual risk behaviors, and HIV status among men who have sex with men (MSM) and with men and women (MSM/W). Participants were recruited in Los Angeles County using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) and completed the Internalized Homonegativity Inventory (IHNI) and questionnaires on demographic and behavioral factors. Biological samples were tested for HIV and for recent cocaine, methamphetamine, and heroin use. The 722 MSM and MSM/W participants were predominantly African American (44%) and Hispanic (28%), unemployed (82%), homeless (50%), and HIV positive (48%) who used drugs in the past 6 months (79.5%). Total and Personal Homonegativity, Gay Affirmation, and Morality of Homosexuality IHNI scores were significantly higher for African American men than for other ethnicities, for MSM/W than for MSM, for recent cocaine users than for recent methamphetamine users, and for HIV-seronegative men than for HIV-seropositive men. Linear regression showed the Gay Affirmation scale significantly and inversely correlated with the number of sexual partners when controlling for effects of ethnicity/race and sexual identification, particularly for men who self-identified as straight. Highest IHNI scores were observed in a small group of MSM/W (n = 62) who never tested for HIV. Of these, 26% tested HIV positive. Findings describe ways in which internalized homophobia is a barrier to HIV testing and associated HIV infection and signal distinctions among participants in this sample that can inform targeted HIV prevention efforts aimed at increasing HIV testing.
Homophobia; Homonegativity; Drug abuse; Gay men; Bisexual men; HIV
Men who have sex with men (MSM) are much more likely to be infected with HIV than the general population. China has a sizable population of MSM, including gay, bisexual men, money boys and some rural workers. So reducing HIV infection in this population is an important component of the national HIV/AIDS prevention and control program.
We develop a mathematical model using a sex-role-preference framework to predict HIV infection in the MSM population and to evaluate different intervention strategies.
An analytic formula for the basic reproduction ratio R0 was obtained; this yields R0 = 3.9296 in the current situation, so HIV will spread very fast in the MSM population if no intervention measure is implemented in a timely fashion. The persistence of HIV infection and the existence of disease equilibrium (or equilibria) are also shown. We utilized our model to simulate possible outcomes of antiretroviral therapy and vaccination for the MSM population. We compared the effects of these intervention measures under different assumptions about MSM behaviour. We also found that R0 is a decreasing function of the death rate of HIV-infected individuals, following a power law at least asymptotically.
HIV will spread very fast in the MSM population unless intervention measures are implemented urgently. Antiretroviral therapy can have substantial impact on the reduction of HIV among the MSM population, even if disinhibition is considered. The effect of protected sexual behaviour on controlling the epidemic in the MSM population largely depends on the sex-ratio preference of different sub-populations.
We examined the role of drug use and addiction in same-sex sexuality among non-gay-identifying African American men who have sex with men or with both men and women (MSM/MSMW). Between July 2005 and February 2006, we conducted seven focus groups with 46 predominately low socioeconomic status African American MSM/MSMW. A total of 29 men self-identified as HIV-infected and 17 self-identified as uninfected. Focus group transcripts were analyzed using consensual qualitative research techniques. Alcohol, crack cocaine, and crystal methamphetamine were the primary drugs mentioned by participants. Drug use was identified as playing a central role in same-sex sexuality for many African American MSM/MSMW. Participants described alcohol use and drug transactions, use, and addiction as motivating sex with men, allowing and rationalizing same-sex activity and unprotected sex, and facilitating access to male sex partners. Some of those in treatment for substance abuse indicated that a readiness to admit their same-sex activity and come to terms with their homosexuality/bisexuality was necessary for recovery. Because successful engagement of non-gay-identifying African American MSM/MSMW is essential to the reduction of HIV transmission and substance abuse in Black communities, findings call for drug treatment approaches that acknowledge and accept diverse sexuality in clients. Service providers and policy-makers may be guided by these findings toward building cultural competency among direct service staff. Future research should examine interrelated dynamics of sexual activity, identity, and drug use as they evolve within individual African American MSM/MSMW and compare the frequency with which sex, condom use, and substance use co-occur with male versus female partners.
African American men; Bisexuality; Homosexuality; Crack cocaine; Alcohol; Methamphetamine; Substance abuse disorders
Beliefs that HIV treatments reduce HIV transmission risks are related to increases in sexual risk behaviors, particularly unprotected anal intercourse among men who have sex with men (MSM). Changes in unprotected anal intercourse and prevention-related treatment beliefs were recently reported for surveys of mostly white gay men collected in 1997 and 2005. The current study extends this previous research by replicating the observed changes in behaviors and beliefs in anonymous community surveys collected in 2006. Results indicated clear and consistent increases in beliefs that HIV treatments reduce HIV transmission risks and increases in unprotected anal intercourse. These changes were observed for both HIV positive and non-HIV positive men. African American men endorsed the belief that HIV treatments protect against HIV transmission to a greater degree than White men. Results show that HIV prevention messages need to be updated to educate MSM about the realities of HIV viral concentrations and HIV transmission risks.
Research on gay and other men who have sex with men's (G/MSM) preferences for sexual healthcare services focuses largely on HIV testing and to some extent on sexually transmitted infections (STI). This research illustrates the frequency and location of where G/MSM interface with the healthcare system, but it does not speak to why men seek care in those locations. As HIV and STI prevention strategies evolve, evidence about G/MSM's motivations and decision-making can inform future plans to optimize models of HIV/STI prevention and primary care.
We conducted a phenomenological study of gay men's sexual health seeking experiences, which included 32 in-depth interviews with gay and bisexual men. Interviews were transcribed verbatim and entered into Atlas.ti. We conducted a Framework Analysis.
We identified a continuum of sexual healthcare seeking practices and their associated drivers. Men differed in their preferences for separating sexual healthcare from other forms of healthcare (“fragmentation”) versus combining all care into one location (“consolidation”). Fragmentation drivers included: fear of being monitored by insurance companies, a desire to seek non-judgmental providers with expertise in sexual health, a desire for rapid HIV testing, perceiving sexual health services as more convenient than primary care services, and a lack of healthcare coverage. Consolidation drivers included: a comfortable and trusting relationship with a provider, a desire for one provider to oversee overall health and those with access to public or private health insurance.
Men in this study were likely to separate sexual healthcare from primary care. Based on this finding, we recommend placing new combination HIV/STI prevention interventions within sexual health clinics. Furthermore, given the evolution of the financing and delivery of healthcare services and in HIV prevention, policymakers and clinicians should consider including more primary care services within sexual healthcare settings.