High-Risk Sexual Behavior, HIV/STD Prevalence, and Risk Predictors in the Social Networks of Young Roma (Gypsy) Men in Bulgaria
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- Amirkhanian, Y.A., Kelly, J.A., Kabakchieva, E. et al. J Immigrant Minority Health (2013) 15: 172. doi:10.1007/s10903-012-9596-4
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Roma (Gypsies), the largest and most disadvantaged ethnic minority group in Europe, are believed to be vulnerable to HIV/AIDS. This study’s aim was to examine HIV risk in 6 Roma male sociocentric networks (n = 405 men) in Bulgaria. Participants were interviewed concerning their risk practices and tested for HIV/STDs. High-risk sexual behaviors were common. Over 57% of men had multiple sexual partners in the past 3 months. Over one-third of men reported both male and female partners in the past year. Condom use was low. Greater levels of sexual risk were associated with lower intentions and self-efficacy for using condoms, drug use, having male partners, knowing HIV-positive persons, and having higher AIDS knowledge but no prior HIV testing. Two men had HIV infection, 3.7% gonorrhea, and 5.2% chlamydia. HIV prevention interventions directed toward high-risk social networks of Roma are needed before HIV infection becomes more widely established.