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Sex Transm Dis. 2007 Oct;34(10):744-8.

Differences in HIV risk behaviors among black and white men who have sex with men.

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  • 1College of Public Health, University of Kentucky, Kentucky 40506-0003, USA.



Surveillance findings consistently indicate that black men who have sex with men (MSM) experience a disproportionate burden of HIV/AIDS compared with white MSM. This study tested the hypothesis that black MSM engage in greater levels of HIV risk behaviors than white MSM and sought to determine if self-reported HIV serostatus moderated any of the observed differences.


A cross-sectional study of MSM was conducted by recruiting men from gay-identified venues in a large metropolitan area of the southern United States. Data were collected by face-to-face interview.


The hypothesis was only supported for one measure of HIV risk behavior: The average number of main (steady) sex partners in the past year was significantly greater among black men (P < 0.0001). However, black and white MSM did not significantly differ in unprotected sex with serodiscordant partners. Racial differences in sexual risk behavior were found only for HIV-negative men and indicated greater protective behavior for black men.


These findings suggest that fewer black MSM, compared with white MSM, engage in HIV sexual risk behaviors but only among HIV-negative men. Identifying the epidemiologic dynamics driving HIV infection among black MSM that go beyond individual-level risk behaviors may be warranted.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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