Advertisement

Archives of Sexual Behavior

, Volume 43, Issue 1, pp 61–72 | Cite as

The Effects of Sexual Partnership and Relationship Characteristics on Three Sexual Risk Variables in Young Men Who Have Sex with Men

  • Michael E. Newcomb
  • Daniel T. Ryan
  • Robert Garofalo
  • Brian Mustanski
Special Section: Sexual Health in Gay and Bisexual Male Couples

Abstract

Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) in the United States are experiencing an alarming increase in HIV incidence. Recent evidence suggests that the majority of new HIV infections in YMSM occur in the context of serious relationships, which underscores the importance of examining predictors of sexual risk behavior in the context of sexual partnerships, including relationship type, sexual partner characteristics, and relationship dynamics. The current study aimed to evaluate relationship and sexual partnership influences on sexual risk behavior in YMSM, including differentiating between multiple sexual risk variables (i.e., any unprotected anal or vaginal intercourse, unprotected insertive anal or vaginal intercourse, and unprotected receptive anal intercourse). More serious/familiar partnerships were associated with more sexual risk across all three risk variables, while wanting a relationship to last was protective against risk across all three risk variables. Some variables were differentially linked to unprotected insertive sex (partner gender) or unprotected receptive sex (partner age, partner race, believing a partner was having sex with others, and partners repeated across waves). Sexual risk behavior in YMSM is inconsistent across sexual partnerships and appears to be determined in no small part by sexual partner characteristics, relationship dynamics, and sexual role (i.e., insertive or receptive partner). These influences are critical in understanding sexual risk in YMSM and provide important targets for intervention.

Keywords

Young men who have sex with men Sexual orientation HIV/AIDS Sexual risk Relationships 

Notes

Acknowledgments

This study was supported by a grant from the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA025548). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the National Institute on Drug Abuse or the National Institutes of Health.

References

  1. Adam, B. D., Sears, A., & Schellenberg, E. G. (2000). Accounting for unsafe sex: Interviews with men who have sex with men. Journal of Sex Research, 37, 24–26.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Bauermeister, J. A. (2012). Romantic ideation, partner-seeking, and HIV risk among young gay and bisexual men. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 41, 431–440. doi: 10.1007/s10508-011-9747-z.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. Bauermeister, J. A., Ventuneac, A., Pingel, E., & Parsons, J. T. (2012). Spectrums of love: Examining the relationship between romantic motivations and sexual risk among young gay and bisexual men. AIDS and Behavior, 16, 1549–1559. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-0123-8.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  4. Berry, M., Raymond, H. F., & McFarland, W. (2007). Same race and older partner selection may explain higher HIV prevalence among black men who have sex with men. AIDS, 21, 2349–2350. doi: 10.1097/QAD.0b013e3282f12f41.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  5. Bingham, T. A., Harawa, N. T., Johnson, D. F., Secura, G. M., MacKellar, D. A., & Valleroy, L. A. (2003). The effect of partner characteristics on HIV infection among African American men who have sex with men in the Young Men’s Survey, Los Angeles, 1999–2000. AIDS Education and Prevention, 15(1 Suppl. A), 39–52.Google Scholar
  6. Bohl, D. D., Raymond, H. F., Arnold, M., & McFarland, W. (2009). Concurrent sexual partnerships and racial disparities in HIV infection among men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 85, 367–369. doi: 10.1136/sti.2009.036723.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Celentano, D. D., Valleroy, L. A., Sifakis, F., MacKellar, D. A., Hylton, J., Thiede, H., … Torian, L. V. (2006). Associations between substance use and sexual risk among very young men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 33, 265–271.Google Scholar
  8. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2009). HIV/AIDS and young men who have sex with men. United States Department of Health and Human Services: Author.Google Scholar
  9. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012a). Monitoring selected national HIV prevention and care objectives by using HIV surveillance data—United States and 6 U.S. dependent areas—2010. HIV Surveillance Supplemental Report, 17(3 Part A).Google Scholar
  10. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2012b). Basic information about HIV and AIDS. Retrieved from http://www.cdc.gov/hiv/topics/basic/.
  11. Clerkin, E. M., Newcomb, M. E., & Mustanski, B. (2011). Unpacking the racial disparity in HIV rates: The effect of race on risky sexual behavior among Black young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Journal of Behavioral Medicine, 34, 237–243. doi: 10.1007/s10865-010-9306-4.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. Corbin, W. R., & Fromme, K. (2002). Alcohol use and serial monogamy as risks for sexually transmitted diseases in young adults. Health Psychology, 21, 229–236.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Crepaz, N., Marks, G., Mansergh, G., Murphy, S., Miller, L. C., & Appleby, P. R. (2000). Age-related risk for HIV infection in men who have sex with men: Examination of behavioral, relationship, and serostatus variables. AIDS Education and Prevention, 12, 405–415.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  14. Davidovich, U., de Wit, J. B., & Stroebe, W. (2004). Behavioral and cognitive barriers to safer sex between men in steady relationships: Implications for prevention strategies. AIDS Education and Prevention, 16, 304–314. doi: 10.1521/aeap.16.4.304.40398.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Dodge, B., Jeffries, W. L. T., & Sandfort, T. G. (2008). Beyond the Down Low: Sexual risk, protection, and disclosure among at-risk Black men who have sex with both men and women (MSMW). Archives of Sexual Behavior, 37, 683–696. doi: 10.1007/s10508-008-9356-7.
  16. Drumright, L. N., Patterson, T. L., & Strathdee, S. A. (2006). Club drugs as causal risk factors for HIV acquisition among men who have sex with men: A review. Substance Use and Misuse, 41, 1551–1601. doi: 10.1080/10826080600847894.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  17. Dudley, M. G., Rostosky, S. S., Korfhage, B. A., & Zimmerman, R. S. (2004). Correlates of high-risk sexual behavior among young men who have sex with men. AIDS Education and Prevention, 16, 328–340.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  18. Eaton, L. A., Kalichman, S. C., O’Connell, D. A., & Karchner, W. D. (2009). A strategy for selecting sexual partners believed to pose little/no risks for HIV: Serosorting and its implications for HIV transmission. AIDS Care, 21, 1279–1288.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Fletcher, G. J., Simpson, J. A., & Thomas, G. (2000). Ideals, perceptions, and evaluations in early relationship development. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 79, 933–940.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  20. Gorbach, P. M., Drumright, L. N., & Holmes, K. K. (2005). Discord, discordance, and concurrency: Comparing individual and partnership-level analyses of new partnerships of young adults at risk of sexually transmitted infections. Sexually Transmitted Diseases, 32, 7–12.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Gorbach, P. M., & Holmes, K. K. (2003). Transmission of STIs/HIV at the partnership level: Beyond individual-level analyses. Journal of Urban Health, 80(4 Suppl. 3), iii15–25.Google Scholar
  22. Grov, C., Bimbi, D. S., Nanin, J. E., & Parsons, J. T. (2006). Exploring racial and ethnic differences in recreational drug use among gay and bisexual men in New York City and Los Angeles. Journal of Drug Education, 36, 105–123.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  23. Hays, R. B., Kegeles, S. M., & Coates, T. J. (1997). Unprotected sex and HIV risk taking among young gay men within boyfriend relationships. AIDS Education and Prevention, 9, 314–329.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Heckathorn, D. D. (1997). Respondent-driven sampling: A new approach to the study of hidden populations. Social Problems, 44, 174–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Jeffries, W. L. T., & Dodge, B. (2007). Male bisexuality and condom use at last sexual encounter: Results from a national survey. Journal of Sex Research, 44, 278–289. doi: 10.1080/00224490701443973.Google Scholar
  26. Jenkins, R. A. (2012). Recruiting substance-using men who have sex with men into HIV prevention research: Current status and future directions. AIDS and Behavior, 16, 1411–1419. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-0037-5.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Joseph, H. A., Marks, G., Belcher, L., Millett, G. A., Stueve, A., Bingham, T. A., et al. (2011). Older partner selection, sexual risk behaviour and unrecognised HIV infection among black and Latino men who have sex with men. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 87, 442–447. doi: 10.1136/sextrans-2011-050010.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  28. Karney, B. R., Hops, H., Redding, C. A., Reis, H. T., Rothman, A. R., & Simpson, J. A. (2010). A framework for incorporating dyads in models of HIV-prevention. AIDS and Behavior, 14(Suppl. 2), 189–203.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  29. Koblin, B. A., Torian, L., Xu, G., Guilin, V., Makki, H., Mackellar, D., et al. (2006). Violence and HIV-related risk among young men who have sex with men. AIDS Care, 18, 961–967. doi: 10.1080/09540120500467182.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. McLean, J., Boulton, M., Brookes, M., Lakhani, D., Fitzpatrick, R., Dawson, J., … Hart, G. (1994). Regular partners and risky behaviour: Why do gay men have unprotected intercourse? AIDS Care, 6, 331–341. doi: 10.1080/09540129408258645.
  31. Mitchell, J. W., & Petroll, A. E. (2013). Factors associated with men in HIV-negative gay couples who practiced UAI within and outside of their relationship. AIDS and Behavior, 17, 1329–1337. doi: 10.1007/s10461-012-0255-5.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  32. Mustanski, B. (2011). Ethical and regulatory issues with conducting sexuality research with LGBT adolescents: A call to action for a scientifically informed approach. Archives of Sexual Behavior, 40, 673–686. doi: 10.1007/s10508-011-9745-1.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  33. Mustanski, B., Garofalo, R., Herrick, A., & Donenberg, G. (2007). Psychosocial health problems increase risk for HIV among urban young men who have sex with men: Preliminary evidence of a syndemic in need of attention. Annals of Behavioral Medicine, 34, 37–45.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Mustanski, B., Newcomb, M. E., & Clerkin, E. M. (2011a). Relationship characteristics and sexual risk-taking in young men who have sex with men. Health Psychology, 30, 597–605. doi: 10.1037/a0023858.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  35. Mustanski, B. S., Newcomb, M. E., Du Bois, S. N., Garcia, S. C., & Grov, C. (2011b). HIV in young men who have sex with men: A review of epidemiology, risk and protective factors, and interventions. Journal of Sex Research, 48, 218–253. doi: 10.1080/00224499.2011.558645.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  36. Mustanski, B., Starks, T. J., & Newcomb, M. E. (2013). Methods for the design and analysis of relationship and partner effects on sexual health. Archives of Sexual Behavior. doi: 10.1007/s10508-013-0215-9.
  37. Mustanski, B., Van Wagenen, A., Birkett, M., Eyster, S., & Corliss, H. (2013). Identifying sexual orientation health disparities in adolescents: Methodological approach for analysis of a pooled YRBS dataset. American Journal of Public Health.Google Scholar
  38. Newcomb, M. E., Clerkin, E. M., & Mustanski, B. (2011). Sensation seeking moderates the effects of alcohol and drug use prior to sex on sexual risk in young men who have sex with men. AIDS and Behavior, 15, 565–575. doi: 10.1007/s10461-010-9832-7.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Newcomb, M. E., Heinz, A. J., & Mustanski, B. (2012). Examining risk and protective factors for alcohol use in lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youth: A longitudinal multilevel analysis. Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs, 73, 783–793.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Newcomb, M. E., & Mustanski, B. (2013). Racial differences in same-race partnering and the effects of sexual partnership characteristics on HIV risk in MSM: A prospective sexual diary study. Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, 62, 329–333. doi: 10.1097/QAI.0b013e31827e5f8c.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Parsons, J. T., Starks, T. J., Gamarel, K. E., & Grov, C. (2012). Non-monogamy and sexual relationship quality among same-sex male couples. Journal of Family Psychology, 26, 669–677. doi: 10.1037/a0029561.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  42. Prejean, J., Song, R., Hernandez, A., Ziebell, R., Green, T., Walker, F., … Hall, H. I. (2011). Estimated HIV incidence in the United States, 2006–2009. PLoS One, 6(8), e17502. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0017502.
  43. Pulerwitz, J., Gortmaker, S. L., & DeJong, W. (2000). Measuring sexual relationship power in HIV/STD research. Sex Roles, 42, 637–660.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Raudenbush, S. W., & Bryk, A. S. (2002). Hierarchical linear models: Applications and data analysis methods (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  45. Raymond, H. F., & McFarland, W. (2009). Racial mixing and HIV risk among men who have sex with men. AIDS and Behavior, 13, 630–637.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  46. Savin-Williams, R. C. (2006). Who’s gay? Does it matter? Current Directions in Psychological Science, 15, 40–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Snowden, J. M., Raymond, H. F., & McFarland, W. (2009). Prevalence of seroadaptive behaviours of men who have sex with men, San Francisco, 2004. Sexually Transmitted Infections, 85, 469–476.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  48. Stephenson, R., de Voux, A., & Sullivan, P. S. (2011). Intimate partner violence and sexual risk-taking among men who have sex with men in South Africa. Western Journal of Emergency Medicine, 12, 343–347.PubMedCentralPubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Suarez, T., & Miller, J. (2001). Negotiating risks in context: A perspective on unprotected anal intercourse and barebacking among men who have sex with men—Where do we go from here? Archives of Sexual Behavior, 30, 287–300.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  50. Sullivan, P. S., Salazar, L., Buchbinder, S., & Sanchez, T. H. (2009). Estimating the proportion of HIV transmissions from main sex partners among men who have sex with men in five US cities. AIDS, 23, 1153–1162.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  51. Theodore, P. S., Duran, R. E., Antoni, M. H., & Fernandez, M. I. (2004). Intimacy and sexual behavior among HIV-positive men-who-have-sex-with-men in primary relationships. AIDS and Behavior, 8, 321–331. doi: 10.1023/B:AIBE.0000044079.37158.a9.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  52. Vosburgh, H. W., Mansergh, G., Sullivan, P. S., & Purcell, D. W. (2012). A review of the literature on event-level substance use and sexual risk behavior among men who have sex with men. AIDS and Behavior, 16, 1394–1410. doi: 10.1007/s10461-011-0131-8.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  53. Wei, C., Guadamuz, T. E., & Stall, R. (2011). Racial/ethnic differences in seroadaptive and serodisclosure behaviors among men who have sex with men. AIDS and Behavior, 15, 22–29. doi: 10.1007/s10461-010-9683-2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  54. Xia, Q., Molitor, F., Osmond, D., Tholandi, M., Pollack, L. M., Ruiz, J. D., et al. (2006). Knowledge of sexual partner’s HIV serostatus and serosorting practices in a California population-based sample of men who have sex with men. AIDS, 20, 2081–2089. doi: 10.1097/01.aids.0000247566.57762.b2.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  55. Zea, M. C., Reisen, C. A., Poppen, P. J., & Bianchi, F. T. (2009). Unprotected anal intercourse among immigrant Latino MSM: The role of characteristics of the person and the sexual encounter. AIDS and Behavior, 13, 700–715.PubMedCentralCrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Michael E. Newcomb
    • 1
  • Daniel T. Ryan
    • 1
  • Robert Garofalo
    • 2
  • Brian Mustanski
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA
  2. 2.Department of Pediatrics, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of ChicagoNorthwestern University Feinberg School of MedicineChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations