Background: American Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are disproportionately affected by HIV, but the factors associated with this concentrated epidemic are not fully understood. Methods: Black MSM were enrolled in 6 US cities to evaluate a multi-component prevention intervention, with the current analysis focusing on the correlates of being newly diagnosed with HIV compared to being HIV-uninfected or previously diagnosed with HIV. Results: HPTN 061 enrolled 1553 Black MSM whose median age was 40; 30% self-identified exclusively as gay or homosexual, 29% exclusively as bisexual, and 3% as transgender. About 1/6th (16.2%) were previously diagnosed with HIV (PD); of 1263 participants without a prior HIV diagnosis 7.6% were newly diagnosed (ND). Compared to PD, ND Black MSM were younger (p<0.001); less likely to be living with a primary partner (p<0.001); more likely to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.011) or chlamydia (p = 0.020). Compared to HIV-uninfected Black MSM, ND were more likely to report unprotected receptive anal intercourse (URAI) with a male partner in the last 6 months (p<0.001); and to be diagnosed with syphilis (p<0.001), rectal gonorrhea (p = 0.004), and urethral (p = 0.025) or rectal chlamydia (p<0.001). They were less likely to report female (p = 0.002) or transgender partners (p = 0.018). Multivariate logistic regression analyses found that ND Black MSM were significantly more likely than HIV-uninfected peers to be unemployed; have STIs, and engage in URAI. Almost half the men in each group were poor, had depressive symptoms, and expressed internalized homophobia. Conclusions: ND HIV-infected Black MSM were more likely to be unemployed, have bacterial STIs and engage in URAI than other Black MSM. Culturally-tailored programs that address economic disenfranchisement, increase engagement in care, screen for STIs, in conjunction with safer sex prevention interventions, may help to decrease further transmission in this heavily affected community.
Mayer, K. H., Wang, L., Koblin, B., Mannheimer, S., Magnus, M., Del Rio, C., … Wheeler, D. (2014). Concomitant socioeconomic, behavioral, and biological factors associated with the disproportionate HIV infection burden among Black men who have sex with men in 6 U.S. cities. PLoS ONE, 9(1). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0087298