There is growing evidence that the neighborhood environment influences sexual behavior and related outcomes, but little work has focused specifically on men who have sex with men (MSM). Using interview data from a probability sample of 385 young MSM living in New York City, recruited at public venues in 1999 and 2000 as part of the Young Men’s Survey-New York City, and data on neighborhood characteristics obtained from the U.S. Census 2000, we conducted multi-level analyses of the associations between neighborhood-level characteristics and consistent condom use during anal intercourse, while controlling for individual-level sociodemographic and other factors. After adjusting for individual-level factors, neighborhood-level gay presence remained significantly and positively associated with consistent condom use during anal intercourse. This finding suggests that neighborhoods with a significant gay presence may have norms that act to discourage high risk sexual activity.
Sexual HIV risk behavior; MSM; Urban neighborhood; Multi-level analysis; Condom use; Neighborhood environment
African Americans are overrepresented among heterosexual cases of HIV/AIDS in the USA. Inconsistent condom use and concurrent partnering are two sexual behaviors driving the heterosexual HIV epidemic in the African American community. To inform the development of an HIV prevention behavioral intervention to decrease concurrent partnering and increase condom use among African American heterosexual men, we conducted formative research, including 61 structured interviews, 5 focus groups with 25 men, and 30 in-depth qualitative interviews between July and December 2009. We used a grounded theoretical approach and categorizing strategies to code and analyze the qualitative data. Results around condom use confirmed earlier findings among heterosexual men in general: condoms diminish pleasure, interfere with erection, and symbolize infidelity. Although valued by some as a form of disease prevention and pregnancy prevention, condoms are often used only with specific types of female partners, such as new or casual partners, or due to visual risk assessment. Sex partner concurrency was described as normative and ascribed to men’s “natural” desire to engage in a variety of sexual activities or their high sex drive, with little recognition of the role it plays in the heterosexual HIV epidemic. Fatherhood emerged among many men as a crucial life event and compelling motivation for reducing sexual risk behavior. Based on these results, we conclude that existing HIV prevention efforts to improve attitudes towards and motivate use of condoms either have not reached or have not been successful with African American heterosexual men. In designing behavioral interventions to decrease concurrent partnering and increase condom use, addressing negative attitudes towards condoms and partner risk assessment is critical, as is integrating novel motivational approaches related to identity as fathers and men in the African American community.
HIV/AIDS; Sexual risk behavior; African Americans; Heterosexual men
Concurrent partnerships are a significant public health concern among men who have sex with men (MSM). This study describes the prevalence of concurrency and its association with serodiscordant/serostatus unknown unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse (SDUI) among MSM in New York City.
1,458 MSM completed a social and sexual network inventory about their male and female sex partners, including concurrency, in the last 3 months. Logistic regression identified factors associated with SDUI.
Median age was 29 years. 23.5% reported being HIV+. The men reported mean 3.2 male partners in last 3 months. 16.6% reported having recent SDUI. 63.2% described having concurrent sex partners (individual concurrency based on overlapping dates of relationships); 71.5% reported having partners whom they believed had concurrent partners (perceived partner concurrency); 56.1% reported that both they and their partners had concurrent partners (reciprocal concurrency). Among HIV+ men by self-report, having SDUI was positively associated with individual concurrency, any alcohol use during sex, having more male sex partners, and not having a main partner. Among self-reported HIV- men, having SDUI was positively associated with perceived partner concurrency, lower education level, any alcohol and drug use during sex, having more male sex partners, and having an anonymous partner.
Concurrency was common among MSM. The association of SDUI with individual and perceived partner concurrency, along with substance use during sex, having an anonymous partner, and having many sex partners likely further increases HIV acquisition and transmission risk among MSM. HIV prevention interventions should address concurrency among MSM.
The role men who have sex with men and women (MSMW) play in heterosexual HIV transmission is not well understood. We analyzed baseline data from Project MIX, a behavioral intervention study of substance-using men who have sex with men (MSM), and identified correlates of unprotected vaginal intercourse, anal intercourse, or both with women (UVAI). Approximately 10% (n=194) of the men reported vaginal sex, anal sex, or both with a woman; of these substance-using MSMW, 66% (129) reported UVAI. Among substance-using MSMW, multivariate analyses found unemployment relative to full/part-time employment (OR=2.28; 95% CI 1.01, 5.17), having a primary female partner relative to no primary female partner (OR=3.44; CI 1.4, 8.46), and higher levels of treatment optimism (OR=1.73; 95% CI 1.18, 2.54) increased odds of UVAI. Strong feelings of connection to a same-race gay community (OR=0.71; 95% CI 0.56, 0.91) and Viagra use (OR=0.31; 95% CI 0.10, 0.95) decreased odds of UVAI. This work suggests that although the proportion of substance-using MSM who also have sex with women is low, these men engage in unprotected sex with women, particularly with primary female partners. This work highlights the need for further research with the substance using MSMW population to inform HIV prevention interventions specifically for MSMW.
bisexual; heterosexual; HIV; MSMW; condom usage
Disclosure of HIV status to potential and current sex partners by HIV-positive people (HIVPP) is a complex issue that has received a significant amount of attention. Research has found that disclosure depends upon the evaluation by HIVPP of potential benefits and risks, especially of the risks stemming from the profound social stigma of HIV and AIDS. Drawing on concepts from Goffman’s classic stigma theory and Anderson’s more recently developed cultural-identity theory of drug abuse, we analyzed data from in-depth, post-intervention qualitative interviews with 116 heterosexually active, HIV-positive injection drug users enrolled in a randomized trial of a behavioral intervention to prevent HIV transmission. We explored how disclosure experiences lead to “identity impacts” defined as: (1) identity challenges (i.e. interactions that challenge an individual’s self-concept as a “normal” or non-deviant individual); and (2) identity transformations (i.e. processes whereby an individual comes to embrace a new identity and reject behaviors and values of an old one, resulting in the conscious adoption of a social and/or public identity as an HIV-positive individual). Participants engaged in several strategies to manage the identity impacts associated with disclosure. Implications of these findings for research and prevention programming are discussed.
HIV disclosure; injection drug use; social identity; HIV prevention
In the United States, heterosexual transmission is the second leading cause of HIV/AIDS, and two-thirds of all heterosexually acquired cases diagnosed between 2005 and 2008 occurred among African Americans. Few HIV prevention interventions have been designed specifically for African American heterosexual men not seeking clinical treatment. Here we report results of a single-arm intervention trial of a theory-based HIV prevention intervention designed to increase condom use, reduce concurrent partnering and increase HIV testing, among heterosexually active, African American men living in high HIV prevalence areas of New York City. We tested our hypothesis using McNemar discordant pairs exact test for binary variables and paired t-tests for continuous variables. We observed statistically significant declines in mean number of total and new female partners, unprotected sex partners and partner concurrency in both primary and non-primary sex partnerships between baseline and three months post-intervention.
Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 61% of new HIV diagnoses in the United States in 2010. Recent analyses indicate that socio-structural factors are important correlates of HIV infection. NYCM2M was a cross-sectional study designed to identify neighborhood-level characteristics within the urban environment that influence sexual risk behaviors, substance use and depression among MSM living in New York City. The sample was recruited using a modified venue-based time-space sampling methodology and through select websites and mobile applications.
This paper describes novel methodological approaches used to improve the quality of data collected for analysis of the impact of neighborhoods on MSM health. Previous research has focused predominately on residential neighborhoods and used pre-determined administrative boundaries (e.g., census tracts) that often do not reflect authentic and meaningful neighborhoods. This study included the definition and assessment of multiple neighborhoods of influence including where men live (home neighborhood), socialize (social neighborhood) and have sex (sexual neighborhood). Furthermore, making use of technological advances in mapping, we collected geo-points of reference for each type of neighborhood and identified and constructed self-identified neighborhood boundary definitions. Finally, this study collected both perceived neighborhood characteristics and objective neighborhood conditions to create a comprehensive, flexible and rich neighborhood-level set of covariates. This research revealed that men perceived their home, social and sexual neighborhoods in different ways. Few men (15%) had the same home, social and sexual neighborhoods; for 31%, none of the neighborhoods was the same. Of the three types of neighborhoods, the number of unique social neighborhoods was the lowest; the size of sexual neighborhoods was the smallest. The resultant dataset offers the opportunity to conduct analyses that will yield context-specific and nuanced understandings of the relations among neighborhood space, and the well-being and health of urban MSM.
The objectives of this cross-sectional study were to compare sociodemographic and risk behavior characteristics between black men who have sex with both men and women (MSMW) and those who have sex with men only (MSMO) and assess factors associated with having any unprotected vaginal and/or anal intercourse (UVAI) with women in the last 3 months. Data from 326 black men who reported recent unprotected anal intercourse (UAI) with a man in an HIV behavioral intervention study in New York City were analyzed. Baseline characteristics were compared between MSMW and MSMO, and factors associated with having any UVAI in the past 3 months with women among MSMW were evaluated. In total, 26.8% reported having sex with both men and women in the last 3 months. MSMW were less likely to be HIV-infected, use amyl nitrates, and have unprotected receptive anal sex with most recent male partner. MSMW were more likely to be over 40 years old and use heroin. 55.6% of MSMW reported having UVAI with women in the last 3 months. Compared to MSMW having only protected sex, MSMW having any UVAI with women were less likely to be HIV-infected and to disclose having sex with men to female partners; they were more likely to have greater than 4 male sex partners in the last 3 months. In conclusion, HIV prevention interventions among black MSMW should directly address the risk of HIV transmission to both their female and male partners. Disclosure of bisexuality to female partners may be an important component of future prevention efforts.
Black MSMW; men who have sex with men and women; bisexuality; HIV/AIDS
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
The present study examined the associations of relationship factors, partner violence, relationship power, and condom-use related factors with condom use with a main male partner among drug-using women. Over two visits, 244 heterosexual drug-using women completed a cross-sectional survey. Multivariate logistic regression models indicated that women who expected positive outcomes and perceived lower condom-use barriers were more likely to report condom use with their intimate partners. The findings suggest that future interventions aiming at reducing HIV risk among drug-using women should focus on women’s subjective appraisals of risks based on key relationship factors in addition to the occurrence of partner violence.
Partner violence; condom use; heterosexual women; HIV; intimate relationship; drugs
To characterize the influence of the residential neighborhood of older adults on the prevalence of disability.
We combined Census data on disability in older adults living in New York City with environmental information from a comprehensive geospatial database. We used factor analysis to derive dimensions of compositional and physical neighborhood characteristics and linear regression to model their association with levels of disability. Measures of neighborhood collective efficacy were added to these models to explore the impact of the social environment.
Low neighborhood socioeconomic status, residential instability, living in areas with low proportions of foreign born and high proportions of Black residents, and negative street characteristics were associated with higher prevalence of both “physical” disability and “going outside the home” disability. High crime levels were additionally associated with physical disability, although this relationship disappeared when misdemeanor arrests were removed from the crime variable. Low levels of collective efficacy were associated with more going-outside-the-home disability, with racial/ethnic composition dropping out of this model to be replaced by an interaction term.
The urban environment may have a substantial impact on whether an older adult with a given level of functional impairment is able to age actively and remain independent.
Disability; Elderly; Environment; Neighborhood
The advocacy–research partnership has been identified as a key method of conducting the feminist and activist research that is important to domestic violence. However, these partnerships are often fraught with challenges that may jeopardize their development, sustainability, and potential impact on policy. Previous commentators have identified key challenges to engaging in advocate–researcher collaborations. This article takes particular care to set forth an advocate perspective through the authors’ experience of planning and executing a collaborative study on the effects of mandatory arrest. The authors use a study that was specifically designed to affect policy to offer insight into the challenges faced and to make recommendations for successfully incorporating social action in advocacy–researcher collaborations.
domestic violence; advocate research collaborations
The past decade has witnessed the rapid expansion of the field of urban health, including the establishment of an international society of urban health and annual conference, the publication of several books and the growing popularity of a peer-reviewed journal on urban health. Relatively absent is an emphasis on the role of gender in urban health, despite scholarly and theoretical work on gender and place by feminist demographers, sociologists, public health researchers and others. This essay examines the treatment of gender within urban health and, drawing on insights from the social sciences, offers suggestions as to how urban health researchers might adopt an intersectional and gendered approach that will advance our understanding of the production of urban health for women and men.
Despite growing concern about illicit methadone use in the US and other countries, there is little data about the prevalence and correlates of methadone use in large urban areas. We assessed the prevalence and examined correlates of lifetime and recent illicit methadone use in New York City (NYC).
1,415 heroin, crack, and cocaine users aged 15–40 years were recruited in NYC between 2000 and 2004 to complete interviewer-administered questionnaires.
In multivariable logistic regression, non-injection drug users who used illicit methadone were more likely to be heroin dependent, less than daily methamphetamine users and to have a heroin using sex partner in the last two months. Injection drug users who used illicit methadone were more likely to use heroin daily, share injection paraphernalia and less likely to have been in a detoxification program and to have not used marijuana in the last six months.
The results overall suggest that illicit (or street) methadone use is likely not a primary drug of choice, but is instead more common in concert with other illicit drug use.
Increasingly, studies show that characteristics of the urban environment influence a wide variety of health behaviors and disease outcomes, yet few studies have focused on the sexual risk behaviors of men who have sex with men (MSM). This focus is important as many gay men reside in or move to urban areas, and sexual risk behaviors and associated outcomes have increased among some urban MSM in recent years. As interventions aimed at changing individual-level risk behaviors have shown mainly short-term effects, consideration of broader environmental influences is needed. Previous efforts to assess the influence of environmental characteristics on sexual behaviors and related health outcomes among the general population have generally applied three theories as explanatory models: physical disorder, social disorganization and social norms theories. In these models, the intervening mechanisms specified to link environmental characteristics to individual-level outcomes include stress, collective efficacy, and social influence processes, respectively. Whether these models can be empirically supported in generating inferences about the sexual behavior of urban MSM is underdeveloped. Conceptualizing sexual risk among MSM to include social and physical environmental characteristics provides a basis for generating novel and holistic disease prevention and health promotion interventions.
HIV; MSM; Sexual risk behavior; Urban environment