AIDS and Behavior doi:10.1007/s10461-009-9574-6 (05.29.09) -
In the United States, HIV disproportionately affects black
residents. In the current study, the authors from the San
Francisco Department of Public Health conducted a cross-
sectional survey of men who have sex with men (MSM) in San
Francisco through time-location-sampling, analyzing the
dynamics of racial mixing and HIV risk. Through computer-
assisted interviews, MSM were asked about their selection of
sexual partners, partner preferences, HIV-risk perceptions and
social mixing in terms of race/ethnicity.
Among 1,142 MSM, 56 percent were white; 22 percent Latino; 14
percent Asian; and 9 percent black. Altogether, participants
reported 3,532 sexual partnerships in the previous six months.
Black MSM had a significant, three-fold higher level of same-
race partnering than would be expected through chance alone;
that is, in the absence of selective forces regarding race
among partnerships. Among participants, black MSM were
reported to be the least preferred as sexual partners; at a
higher risk for HIV; counted less frequently among friends;
considered hardest to meet; and perceived as less welcome by
other MSM in San Francisco venues where MSM congregate.
"Our findings support the hypothesis that sexual networks of
black MSM, constrained by the preferences and attitudes of
non-blacks and the social environment, are pushed to be more
highly interconnected than other groups with the potential
consequences of more rapid spread of HIV and a higher
sustained prevalence of infection," the authors suggested.
"The racial disparity in HIV observed for more than a decade
will not disappear until the challenges posed by a legacy of
racism towards blacks in the US are addressed."