Incarceration, Social Support Networks, and Health among Black Sexual Minority Men and Transgender Women: Evidence from the HPTN 061 Study

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2022 Sep 23;19(19):12064. doi: 10.3390/ijerph191912064.


Support from social networks buffers against negative effects of stress but is disrupted by incarceration. Few studies examine incarceration, social support networks, and health among Black sexual minority men (BSMM) and Black transgender women (BTW). We conducted a secondary analysis using HIV Prevention Trials Network 061 (HPTN 061), a sample of BSMM/BTW recruited from six US cities. We measured associations between recent incarceration reported at six months follow-up and social support networks at twelve months follow-up, and cross-sectional associations between support networks and twelve-month health outcomes (e.g., sexual partnerships, substance use, healthcare access and depressive symptoms). Among the analytic sample (N = 1169), recent incarceration was associated with small medical support networks (adjusted risk ratio [aRR] 1.16, 95% CI 1.01, 1.34) and small financial support networks (aRR 1.18, 95% CI 1.04, 1.35). Support networks were associated with multiple partnerships (adjusted prevalence ratio [aPR] 0.77, 95% CI 0.65, 0.90), unhealthy alcohol use (aPR 1.20, 95% CI 0.96, 1.51), and depressive symptoms (aPR 1.16, 95% CI 0.99, 1.36). Incarceration adversely impacts social support networks of BSMM/BTW, and support networks were associated with a range of important health outcomes.

Keywords: incarceration; sexual minorities; social networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, American Recovery and Reinvestment Act

MeSH terms

  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • HIV Infections* / epidemiology
  • Homosexuality, Male
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities*
  • Social Networking
  • Social Support
  • Transgender Persons*