The couple as context: Latino gay male couples and HIV.

Published: November 15, 2010

Abstract

HIV-prevention efforts with gay men in relationships frequently omit primary partners. When they are considered, examinations of race/ethnicity are often overlooked despite higher infection rates among gay men of colour. Acknowledging both the need to contextualise the behaviours that may affect HIV risk for gay men of colour and the disproportionate impact of HIV on Latino gay men, the present study utilised semi-structured, qualitative interviews to explore relationship dynamics, sexual agreements and behaviours, safer sex choices and HIV risk among nine Latino gay male couples. All participants were HIV-negative and in concordant negative relationships. Additionally, nearly all reported closed agreements. Analysis revealed participants engaging in four behaviours that may actively reduce their HIV risk: approaching sexual agreements from a practical standpoint, maintaining a high literacy around HIV, having exposure to social support groups for Latino gay men and finding support in their relationship with another Latino gay man. Additional issues are raised where long-term HIV prevention is concerned. Intimate relationships are an important context for understanding both HIV risk and prevention among Latino gay men. Likewise, race/ethnicity provides an indispensable perspective on all research with gay couples. Future prevention efforts with gay men must strive to include both.

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