Actor-Partner Effects of Demographic and Relationship Factors Associated with HIV Risk Within Gay Male Couples.

Published: August 9, 2012

Abstract

Recent research has investigated the association of relationship factors and dynamics with sexual behaviors and HIV risk among gay male couples. However, few studies with gay male couples have used the Actor-Partner Interdependence Model framework to examine whether factors influence an individual and his partner’s sexual risk behaviors. None of these studies analyzed whether relationship factors had influenced the sexual risk behaviors of both partners within the couple. Our cross-sectional study used dyadic data from 142 gay male couples to assess actor-partner effects of relationship commitment, trust, and investment in one’s sexual agreement for HIV risk. Multilevel modeling was used to examine which actor-partner effects of these factors were predictive of individuals and their partners having had UAI within and outside the relationship. Results indicated that participants’ likelihood of having had UAI within and outside of the relationship significantly decreased with: (1) actor effects of value in and commitment to a sexual agreement, and quality of alternatives to the relationship and (2) partner effects of participant’s age, dependability of trust, quality of alternatives to the relationship, and investment of relationship commitment. No significant actor-partner effects were detected for having had UAI within the relationship. Our findings suggest that future HIV prevention strategies should take into account how relationship factors influence an individual and his main partners’ sexual risk behaviors and in turn, the couple’s risk for HIV. However, more research is needed to examine how actor-partner effects of relationship factors influence a variety of sexual risk behaviors within gay male couples.

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