An evaluation of factors associated with sexual risk taking among Black men who have sex with men: a comparison of younger and older populations

J Behav Med. 2016 Aug;39(4):665-74. doi: 10.1007/s10865-016-9734-x. Epub 2016 Mar 21.


In the United States, rates of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection are highest among Black men who have sex with men (BMSM). Prior research indicates that younger BMSM in particular (i.e., BMSM 29 years of age and younger) are most at risk for HIV infection, and that HIV incidence in this subpopulation has risen in recent years. It remains unclear, however, why younger BMSM, relative to BMSM 30 years of age and older, are at increased risk for HIV infection. For the current study, we surveyed 450 BMSM located in the Atlanta, GA metropolitan and surrounding areas. We assessed BMSM's depressive symptoms, substance use during sex, psycho-social risk factors (i.e., HIV risk perceptions, condom use self-efficacy, internalized homophobia, and perceived HIV stigmatization), and sexual risk taking (i.e., condomless anal intercourse [CAI]). We found that younger BMSM (YBMSM) and older BMSM (OBMSM) differed with respect to factors associated with CAI. In multivariable models, alcohol use before or during sex, lower educational attainment, and sexual orientation (i.e., bisexual sexual orientation) were significantly associated with increased CAI for YBMSM, while HIV risk perceptions and internalized homophobia were significantly, negatively associated with CAI among OBMSM. Rates of engaging in CAI were similar across the two age cohorts; however, factors related to CAI varied by these two groups. Findings emphasize the need to consider targeted interventions for different generational cohorts of BMSM.

Keywords: Age; Black men who have sex with men; HIV; Prevention.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Black People
  • Black or African American*
  • Depression / psychology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control
  • Homophobia / psychology
  • Homosexuality, Male / psychology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Risk Factors
  • Risk-Taking*
  • Self Efficacy
  • Social Stigma
  • Substance-Related Disorders / psychology
  • United States
  • Unsafe Sex / psychology*
  • Young Adult