238009 Romantic ideation and sexual risk among young men who have sex with men (YMSM)

Monday, October 31, 2011

Josť Arturo Bauermeister, MPH , Department of Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Ana M. Ventuneac, PhD , Center for HIV Educational Studies & Training (CHEST), Hunter College and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY), New York, NY
Jeffrey T. Parsons, PhD , Center for HIV Educational Studies and Training (CHEST), Hunter College, New York, NY
Emily Pingel, MPH , Health Behavior and Health Education, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
Background: Past research has suggested an association between HIV/AIDS risk behaviors and romantic feelings among men in relationships; less is known about the association between HIV/AIDS risks and romantic feelings among single YMSM. We examine the relationship between number of partners and their relationship desires. Acknowledging that idealized love may have positive (romantic ideation) and negative (romantic obsession) connotations, we hypothesized that YMSM would report greater risks if they reported having obsessive thoughts about their relationship desires; conversely, we hypothesized that YMSM who envision a romantic relationship would report fewer unprotected partners.

Methods: Using cross-sectional data from a study examining single YMSM's online dating experiences (N=431; ages 18 to 24), we examined the association between the number of unprotected partners in the past 2 months and YMSM's romantic ideation and obsession, respectively, using multivariate Poisson analyses.

Results: After accounting for sociodemographic characteristics, we found a positive association between romantic obsession and number of partners for unprotected RAI (OR = 1.53; 95% CI: 1.03, 2.29) and IAI (OR = 1.60; 95% CI: 1.09, 2.35). Conversely, we found a negative association between romantic ideation and number of partners for URAI (OR = .52; 95% CI: .36, .73) and UIAI (OR = .57; 95% CI: .44, .75).

Conclusions/Implications: Is love risky or protective? Our results indicate support for both perspectives. We discuss the implications of our findings, highlighting the importance of addressing romantic pursuits into existing HIV-prevention interventions for single YMSM.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe how love may be operationalized as a risk (romantic obsession) and promotive (romantic ideation) factor in young men's sexual lives. Differentiate between romantic obsession and ideation, and describe their relationship to young men's HIV/AIDS risk behaviors. Discuss how to embed conversations about relationship desires into on-going HIV/AIDS prevention efforts.

Keywords: HIV Risk Behavior, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Dr. Bauermeister is Assistant Professor in the Department of Health Behavior and Health Education (HBHE) in the UM School of Public Health. Originally from San Juan, Puerto Rico, Dr. Bauermeister completed his MPH and PhD in Public Health from the University of Michigan. Prior to joining the HBHE faculty, Dr. Bauermeister was a NIH postdoctoral fellow in the HIV Center for Clinical and Behavioral Studies at Columbia University's Department of Psychiatry and Lecturer in the Department of Psychology at New York University. Dr. Bauermeister oversees the Sexuality & Health Research Lab (SexLab) at the School of Public Health. His primary research interests focus on sexuality and health, and interpersonal prevention and health promotion strategies for high-risk adolescents and young adults. He is Principal Investigator of several projects examining HIV/AIDS risk among young men who have sex with men (YMSM).
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.