Original Paper

AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 17, Issue 5, pp 1819-1828

First online:

Social Support Network Characteristics and Sexual Risk Taking Among a Racially/Ethnically Diverse Sample of Young, Urban Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • F. KapadiaAffiliated withCenter for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York UniversityDivision of General Internal Medicine, Department of Population Health, Langone School of Medicine, New York University Email author 
  • , D. E. SiconolfiAffiliated withCenter for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University
  • , S. BartonAffiliated withCenter for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University
  • , B. OlivieriAffiliated withCenter for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University
  • , L. LombardoAffiliated withCenter for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York University
  • , P. N. HalkitisAffiliated withCenter for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education and Human Development, New York UniversityDivision of General Internal Medicine, Department of Population Health, Langone School of Medicine, New York University

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Abstract

Associations between social support network characteristics and sexual risk among racially/ethnically diverse young men who have sex with men (YMSM) were examined using egocentric network data from a prospective cohort study of YMSM (n = 501) recruited in New York City. Bivariate and multivariable logistic regression analyses examined associations between social support network characteristics and sexual risk taking behaviors in Black, Hispanic/Latino, and White YMSM. Bivariate analyses indicated key differences in network size, composition, communication frequency and average relationship duration by race/ethnicity. In multivariable analyses, controlling for individual level sociodemographic, psychosocial and relationship factors, having a sexual partner in one’s social support network was associated with unprotected sexual behavior for both Hispanic/Latino (AOR = 3.90) and White YMSM (AOR = 4.93). Further examination of key network characteristics across racial/ethnic groups are warranted in order to better understand the extant mechanisms for provision of HIV prevention programming to racially/ethnically diverse YMSM at risk for HIV.

Keywords

HIV Social networks Prevention YMSM

Resumen

Las asociaciones entre las características de las redes sociales de apoyo y el riesgo sexual entre hombres jóvenes que tienen sexo con otros hombres (YMSM, por sus siglas en Inglés) fueron examinadas usando datos de las redes egocéntricas de un estudio de cohorte prospectivo de YMSM (n = 501) reclutados en la ciudad de Nueva York. Los análisis de las regresiones logísticas bivariadas y multivariadas examinaron las asociaciones entre las características de las redes sociales de apoyo y los comportamientos de toma de riesgo sexual en YMSM Negros, Hispanos/Latinos, y Blancos. Los análisis bivariados indicaron diferencias claves en el tamaño de las redes, la composición, la frecuencia de la comunicación y el promedio de la duración de las relaciones por raza/origen étnico. En los análisis multivariados, controlando para los factores sociodemográficos a nivel individual, los factores psicosociales y de relaciones, tener un compañero sexual en la redes sociales de apoyo del individuo estuvo asociado con el comportamiento sexual sin protección para los YMSM Hispanos/Latinos (AOR = 3.90) y Blancos (AOR = 4.93). Un examen más detallado de las características clave de las redes en los diferentes grupos raciales/étnicos se justifica con el fin de comprender mejor los mecanismos existentes para proveer programas de prevención del VIH a YMSM de diversas razas/origen étnico en riesgo de contraer el VIH.