Risk Behaviors Do Not Explain Higher HIV Incidence in Young Black MSM — Physician’s First Watch
Risk Behaviors Do Not Explain Higher HIV Incidence in Young Black MSM
By Cara Adler
Differences in self-reported HIV-related risk behaviors alone do not account for the disproportionately higher incidence of HIV infection among black compared to white and Hispanic adolescent males who have sex with males (MSM), according to an MMWR study.
Researchers analyzed 2009-2013 survey data for roughly 1700 high-school MSM in 17 large urban public school districts.
Compared with whites and Hispanics, blacks had lower prevalence of some risk factors, including binge drinking and use of ecstasy and inhalants. Blacks had higher prevalence of condom use than whites and higher prevalence of ever having reported sexual intercourse than Hispanics.
Dr. Deborah Lehman of NEJM Journal Watch Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine comments, "Self-report of high-risk behaviors such as substance abuse did not account for the increased risk of HIV infection in black high school students. Increased rates seen in this population may be due to limited access to health information, screening, and care, highlighting the importance of screening all adolescents for HIV infection and improving access to care."