Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are disproportionally affected by HIV, and main partnerships account for a large proportion of new HIV infections. HIV prevention is largely focused on urban YMSM, and less is known about sexual health of rural male couples. The present study used data from a randomized controlled trial of a relationship education and HIV prevention program for male couples to test associations of rurality with HIV/STI testing, PrEP use, number of sexual partners, and condomless anal sex (CAS) acts. Participants were 430 YMSM in relationships. Rural YMSM were less likely to have been tested for HIV/STIs, and to have used PrEP, compared to urban YMSM. Although higher rurality was associated with fewer CAS acts, CAS was not infrequent among rural YMSM, highlighting the need for increased HIV prevention geared toward young male couples living in rural, less resourced areas.
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This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse (DP2DA042417). Elissa Sarno’s time was supported by a Grant from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (F32AA028194; PI: Sarno). The content is solely the responsibility of the authors and does not necessarily represent the official views of the funding agencies.
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All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the Ethical Standards of the Institutional and/or National Research Committee (Northwestern University Institutional Review Board; STU00202802) and with the 1964 Helsinki Declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. This article does not contain any studies with animals performed by any of the authors.
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Sarno, E.L., Bettin, E., Jozsa, K. et al. Sexual Health of Rural and Urban Young Male Couples in the United States: Differences in HIV Testing, Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Use, and Condom Use. AIDS Behav 25, 191–202 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10461-020-02961-8
- Pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP)