Abstract: Sexual Health Communication Among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men That Use Online Venues to Find Sexual Partners (Society for Social Work and Research 24th Annual Conference - Reducing Racial and Economic Inequality)

319P Sexual Health Communication Among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men That Use Online Venues to Find Sexual Partners

Friday, January 17, 2020
Marquis BR Salon 6 (ML 2) (Marriott Marquis Washington DC)
* noted as presenting author
Jacob Gordon, MSW, Doctoral Student, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Darren Whitfield, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA
Background and Purpose: Black men who have sex with men (BMSM) continue to experience disproportionate rates of HIV infection despite advances in HIV prevention tools. BMSM represented 42% of new HIV infections in 2016. Incidentally, the methods of finding sexual partners has changed for BMSM with the increase use of geospatial dating apps to find sexual partners. Some scholars suggest the use of geospatial dating apps and the internet increases HIV risk. Sexual health communication between partners has been associated with safer sex practices by previous scholars. But it is unclear how sexual health communication differs by the venue in which BMSM find sexual partners. The goal of the current study is to determine the predictors of sexual health communication among BMSM and examine relationship between sexual health communication and the venue used to find sexual partners among BMSM.

Methods: The authors conducted a secondary data analysis of the Twenty Percent Study, a study of BMSM in 2016. The study examined HIV risk behavior among BMSM. The originally self-administrated web-based survey examined sexual histories, HIV risk, and risk behaviors, and social stigma among 443 BMSM in the United States. The authors hypothesized social stigma and demographic characteristics will predict sexual health communication among BMSM. Furthermore, it is hypothesized sexual health communication will differ based on venue for finding one’s sexual. General linear regression (GLM) was used to examine the predictors of sexual health communication with one’s sexual partners.

Results: GLM found marijuana use prior to sex (B = 1.60), being HIV positive (B = 1.80), perceived masculinity (B = 0.86) and type of sexual partner (B = 3.54) were predictors of decreased sexual health communication (F (5,252) = [9.100], p < 01). Partner venue was not a significant predictor for sexual health communication (B = .192, p = 0.70) after being controlled by marijuana use, HIV status, partner sexual type, and perceived masculinity.

Conclusions and Implications: These findings support a better understanding of sexual health communication based on where one finds their partner. Traditionally, geospatial apps have been seen as a risk factor for HIV however these findings suggest geospatial apps are not associated with greater risk. HIV prevention interventions should explore how to leverage these apps for sexual health promotion and sexual health communication. Given the findings related to stigmatized identities and interpersonal context (intimacy), interventions should be developed to address these factors in risk reduction for BMSM. Further research is needed to examine reimagined HIV prevention interventions which seek to incorporate both psychosocial and behavior components of decision making.