There is growing evidence that sexual behaviors among male couples are strongly shaped by emotional and quality characteristics of the relationship, and that the labels that men attach to their relationships may indicate how men perceive and engage in risk taking. There has been a lack of attention to how male couples label their relationships, and how discordant understandings of relationship labels may shape HIV risk behavior. Using data from a sample of 804 partnered men who have sex with men, this analysis examines associations between discordant relationship labeling and participation in HIV testing and sexual behavior. Men who labeled their relationship differently from their partners were less likely to have been recently tested for HIV and more likely to engage in sexual risk. The results underscore the need to develop interventions that provide spaces and skills for men to learn how to effectively navigate HIV risks in their relationships.
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Rob Stephenson was supported by National Institutes of Health under Grant No. R01HD078131.
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Stephenson, R., Sullivan, S., Sharma, A. et al. Discordant Reporting of Partner Labels, HIV Testing and Sexual Behavior Among a Sample of Partnered Men Who have Sex with Men in the US. AIDS Behav 24, 540–550 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02725-z
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