Black MSM’s High HIV Risk Due to Masculinity Preference
Researchers in Maryland say they’ve figured out why young black men who have sex with men are about FIVE TIMES more likely to contract HIV than MSM’s of other races. They attribute it to their strong tendency to seek out extra-macho partners.
Investigators at Johns Hopkins based their results on interviews with 35 black MSM’s ages 18 to 24. What they found was that such men showed a clear preference for masculine men, equating that ‘type’ with lower HIV risk.
Lead author Errol Fields says that young black gay and bisexual men rarely receive scientific attention, which is why he’s spent a number of years researching their sexual practices.
FIELDS: I think that we need to do more to understand this phenomena. But, I think it’s also important to actually take action as well, and I would hope that this information would help those who develop interventions.
Fields and his team also found that young black MSM allow their masculine partners to assume the dominant role in sex acts and ultimately decide about condom use. Researchers even noticed that feminine men were deemed less desirable because they are seen as having a higher risk for HIV infection due to perceptions of heightened promiscuity.
Though young black MSM have unprotected sex as often as gay and bi men of other races, Fields says it’s WHO they are having sex with that puts them more at risk. Which is why he’s now calling for special programs focusing on both the larger African-American community and on MSM individuals to further examine their sexual behaviors and develop prevention strategies.