Lifetime Burden of Incarceration and Violence, Internalized Homophobia, and HIV/STI Risk Among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men in the HPTN 061 Study

AIDS Behav. 2021 May;25(5):1507-1517. doi: 10.1007/s10461-020-02989-w.


Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) have disproportionate HIV/STI acquisition risk. Incarceration may increase exposure to violence and exacerbate psychosocial vulnerabilities, including internalized homophobia, which are associated with HIV/STI acquisition risk. Using data from HIV Prevention Trials Network 061 (N = 1553), we estimated adjusted prevalence ratios (APR) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) for associations between lifetime burden of incarceration and HIV/STI risk outcomes. We measured associations between incarceration and HIV/STI risk outcomes with hypothesized mediators of recent violence victimization and internalized homophobia. Compared to those never incarcerated, those with 3-9 or ≥ 10 incarcerations had approximately 10% higher prevalence of multiple partnerships. Incarceration burden was associated with selling sex (1-2 incarcerations: APR: 1.52, 95% CI 1.14-2.03; 3-9: APR: 1.77, 95% CI 1.35-2.33; ≥ 10: APR: 1.85, 95% CI 1.37-2.51) and buying sex (≥ 10 incarcerations APR: 1.80, 95% CI 1.18-2.75). Compared to never incarcerated, 1-2 incarcerations appeared to be associated with current chlamydia (APR: 1.47, 95% CI 0.98-2.20) and 3-9 incarcerations appeared to be associated with current syphilis (APR: 1.46, 95% CI 0.92-2.30). Incarceration was independently associated with violence, which in turn was a correlate of transactional sex. Longitudinal research is warranted to clarify the role of incarceration in violence and HIV/STI risk in this population.

Keywords: HIV; Incarceration; MSM; STI; Violence.

MeSH terms

  • Black or African American
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Homophobia
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Sexually Transmitted Diseases* / epidemiology
  • Violence