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Int J STD AIDS. 1999 Sep;10(9):582-7.

HIV-associated risk factors among young Canadian Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal men who have sex with men.

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  • 1British Columbia Centre for Excellence in HIV/AIDS, Canada.


Young Aboriginal men face marginalization distinct in cause but similar in pattern to those seen among men who have sex with men (MSM) and may be at increased risk for HIV infection. We compared sociodemographic characteristics and risk taking behaviours associated with HIV infection among MSM of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal descent. Data for this comparison were gathered from baseline questionnaires completed by participants in a cohort study of young MSM. Data collection included: demographic characteristics such as age, length of time residing in the Vancouver region, housing, employment, income and income sources; mental health and personal support; instances of forced sex and sex trade participation and; sexual practices with regular and casual male sex partners. Data were available for 57 Aboriginal and 624 non-Aboriginal MSM. Aboriginal MSM were significantly less likely to be employed, more likely to live in unstable housing, to have incomes of <$10,000 and to receive income assistance than non-Aboriginals (all P<0.01). Aboriginals also had higher depression scores (P<0.01), were more likely to report non-consensual sex (P=0.03), sexual abuse during childhood (P=0.04) and having been paid for sex (P<0.01). In the past year they were no more likely to have had sex with a male partner they knew to be HIV positive, to have had more than 50 male partners or to have unprotected anal insertive or receptive intercourse with their male partners (all P>0.05). Our data indicate that among MSM, Aboriginal men are at increased risk of antecedent risk factors for HIV infection including sexual abuse, poverty, poor mental health and involvement in the sex trade.

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