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J Urban Health. 2017 Oct;94(5):676-682. doi: 10.1007/s11524-017-0187-5.

Risky Trade: Individual and Neighborhood-Level Socio-Demographics Associated with Transactional Sex among Urban African American MSM.

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University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Temple University, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Annenberg School for Communication, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.
Center for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA, USA.
Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


There is a clear, persistent association between poverty and HIV risk and HIV infection. Low educational attainment, neighborhood disadvantage, and residential instability are ways in which poverty is instrumentally experienced in urban America. We investigated the role of lived poverty at both the individual and neighborhood levels in transactional sex behavior among African American men who have sex with men (MSM) residing in urban neighborhoods. Using population-averaged models estimated by generalized estimating equation (GEE) models, we identified individual-level and neighborhood-level factors that are associated with exchanging sex for drugs and/or money. We tested the association between neighborhood and individual-level socioeconomic status and HIV risk behavior by combining area-based measures of neighborhood quality from the US Census with individual survey data from 542 low-income African American MSM. The primary outcome measure was self-reported transactional sex defined as exchanging sex for drugs or money. Individual-level covariates included high school non-completion, income, and problem drug use. Neighborhood-level covariates were high school non-completion and poverty rates. The findings suggested that educational attainment is associated with both the individual level and neighborhood level. Participants were more likely to engage in transactional sex if they did not complete high school (OR = 1.78), and similarly if their neighbors did not complete high school (OR = 7.70). These findings suggest potential leverage points for both community-level interventions and advocacy for this population, particularly related to transactional sex and education, and will aid HIV prevention efforts that seek to address the contextual constraints on individual risk behavior.


African American; HIV; MSM; Neighborhood; Transactional sex

[Available on 2018-10-01]
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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