Black Men Who Have Sex with Men Have Higher HIV Rate despite Less Sexual Risk Behavior

Published: November 12, 2010

Washington, DC, has among the highest levels of HIV prevalence (total infections) and incidence (new infections) in the U.S. But rates vary considerably across racial/ethnic groups. While an estimated 3.2% of the city’s population as a whole is estimated to be living with HIV, this rises to 7.1% among black men. Nationwide, a 2008 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) analysis found that HIV prevalence among black men was about 6 times higher than that of white men.

Manya Magnus from George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and colleagues performed a study to assess HIV risk behaviors in a community-based sample of men who have sex with men (MSM) in DC.

Data were compiled from the National HIV Behavioral Surveillance system. MSM age 18 and older were recruited using venue-based sampling between July 2008 and December 2008. A total of 500 men were included, approximately one-third (35.6%) of whom were black. Participants completed behavioral surveys and received rapid oral HIV screening using the OraQuick test, confirmed by Western blot if positive.

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