Mistaken Assumptions and Missed Opportunities: Correlates of Undiagnosed HIV Infection among Black and Latino Men who have Sex with Men.

Published: June 7, 2011

OBJECTIVE:: To identify demographic, behavioral, and psychological variables associated with being HIV-positive unaware among black and Latino men who have sex with men (MSM). METHODS:: Participants recruited in 3 cities completed a computer-assisted interview and were tested for HIV infection (OraSure Technologies, Bethlehem, PA). HIV-positive unaware MSM were compared with MSM who tested HIV-negative in bivariate and multivariate analyses. RESULTS:: Of 1208 MSM (597 black and 611 Latino), 11% were HIV-positive unaware (18% of blacks and 5% of Latinos). In multivariate analysis of the Latino MSM, being HIV-positive unaware was associated with non-gay identity, high perceived risk of currently being HIV-positive, and belief that sex with other Latino men reduces HIV transmission risk. Among black MSM, being HIV-positive unaware was associated with gay identity, moderately higher income, having health insurance, sexuality disclosure to a current healthcare provider, fewer than 3 lifetime HIV tests, high perceived risk of testing HIV-positive, and belief that sex with other black men reduces HIV transmission risk. CONCLUSIONS:: HIV prevention efforts should address misperceptions among those black and Latino MSM who believe that assortative (i.e. intraracial) sexual mixing reduces risk of HIV infection. Our findings also revealed missed opportunities to diagnose black MSM with HIV infection who were already engaged in care and had disclosed their sexuality to their healthcare provider. Clinicians should offer HIV testing to all MSM, particularly black MSM, who disclose engaging in recent sex with other men to facilitate earlier diagnosis of HIV infection and reduce transmission risk to sexual partners.

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