Differences in Risky Sexual Behaviors by HIV Serostatus among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men

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Background: Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV infection, particularly in the American South. Previous research has examined differences in risky sexual behaviors among MSM by HIV serostatus; however, few studies have investigated these patterns specifically among BMSM. The purpose of this study was to identify differences in risky sexual behaviors by HIV serostatus among BMSM in the Deep South.

Methods: Data from the Sexual Health in Faith Traditions (SHIFT) Study were used for the analytic sample (n=329). The mean age of participants was 28.2 years, and 20.4% reported having tested positive for HIV. Sexual risk behaviors included number of male sex partners in the previous three months, concurrency of sex partners, frequency of condom use for anal intercourse, sex with alcohol use, and sex with other drug use.

Results: The number of sex partners reported by HIV-positive BMSM (M=2.50, SD=2.63) was significantly higher than HIV-negative BMSM (M=1.57, SD=1.51; t(284)=20.12, p<.001). Chi-square analyses indicated a significant relationship between HIV status and concurrent sex partners, χ2 (1, n=321)=9.91, p=.002, and between HIV status and sex with drug use, χ2 (1, n=321)=12.13, p<.001.

Conclusions: Results of this analysis suggest that BMSM living with HIV in the Deep South may be more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors than their HIV-negative counterparts. Future research should investigate factors contributing to these differences, and how these findings can be incorporated into HIV prevention programs for BMSM.


American Public Health Association Annual Meeting (APHA)


Denver, CO