Journal of Urban Health

, Volume 92, Issue 4, pp 717–732 | Cite as

Racial/Ethnic Differences in the Association between Arrest and Unprotected Anal Sex among Young Men Who Have Sex with Men: The P18 Cohort Study

  • Danielle C. Ompad
  • Farzana Kapadia
  • Francesca C. Bates
  • Jaclyn Blachman-Forshay
  • Perry N. Halkitis


This analysis aimed to determine whether the relationship between a history of arrest and unprotected anal sex (UAS) is the same for Black/Latino gay, bisexual, and other young men who have sex with men (YMSM) as compared to White/Asian/Pacific Islander (API) YMSM in New York City (NYC). Baseline audio-computer-assisted self-interview (ACASI) and interviewer-administered survey data from a sample of 576 YMSM aged 18–19 years old who self-reported being HIV-negative were analyzed. Data included history of arrest and incarceration as well as UAS in the past 30 days. Race/ethnicity was an effect modifier of the association between arrest and UAS among YMSM: White/API YMSM with a lifetime arrest history were more than three times as likely to report UAS, and Black/Latino YMSM with a lifetime history of arrest were approximately 70 % less likely to report UAS as compared with White/API YMSM with no reported arrest history. Race/ethnicity may modify the relationship between arrest and sexual risk behavior because the etiology of arrest differs by race, as partially evidenced by racial/ethnic disparities in police stop, arrest, and incarceration rates in NYC. Arrest could not only be an indicator of risky behavior for White/API YMSM but also an indicator of discrimination for Black/Latino YMSM. Further research is needed to assess whether the differential associations observed here vis-à-vis race/ethnicity are robust across different populations and different health outcomes.


Homosexuality Male Arrest Sexual behavior Race Ethnicity 



The study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (R01DA025537). DCO was supported by the Center for Drug Use and HIV Research (CDUHR-P30 DA011041). The authors would like to thank the P18 study staff and participants.

The funder did not have a role in the analysis and development of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© The New York Academy of Medicine 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Danielle C. Ompad
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 7
  • Farzana Kapadia
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 6
  • Francesca C. Bates
    • 2
  • Jaclyn Blachman-Forshay
    • 7
  • Perry N. Halkitis
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
  1. 1.Global Institute of Public HealthNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.Center for Health, Identity, Behavior, and Prevention StudiesNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  3. 3.Center for Drug Use and HIV ResearchNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public HealthNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  5. 5.Department of Applied PsychologyNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  6. 6.Department of Population HealthNew York UniversityNew YorkUSA
  7. 7.Mailman School of Public Health, Department of EpidemiologyColumbia UniversityNew YorkUSA

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