244653 An examination of the social and sexual networks of crack-using AA MSM: Implications for HIV prevention

Tuesday, November 1, 2011: 1:10 PM

Karin Elizabeth Tobin, PhD , Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Cui Yang , Department of Health, Behavior and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Carl Latkin, PhD , Health, Behavior, and Society, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, Baltimore, MD
Background: Little is known about crack-use as an HIV risk factor among African American men who have sex with men (AA MSM), a group disproportionately infected with HIV. From a social network perspective, we sought to examine the relationship between drug use and social capital and sexual risk network characteristics.of AA MSM in Baltimore, Maryland.

Methods: Participants were recruited using street and internet-based outreach, printed advertisements and word-of-mouth. Inclusion criteria were being at least 18 years old, African American/Black race/ethnicity and sex with another male in the prior 90 days. Crack use was operationalized as self-report of crack in the prior 90 days. Logistic regression was used to identify variables that were independently associated with crack use.

Results: Of 230 enrolled AA MSM, 37% (n=84) reported crack use. The sexual networks of crack-using AA MSM were composed of a greater number of HIV-positive sex partners, exchange partners and partners who were both sex and drug partners and fewer networks with whom they always use condoms as compared to non-crack using AA MSM. Crack use was independently associated with increased odds of bisexual identity and networks with a greater number of exchange partners, overlap of drug and sex partners and lesser condom use.

Conclusion: Results of this study highlight sexual network characteristics of crack-smoking AA MSM that may promote transmission of HIV. HIV interventions are needed that are tailored to address the social context of crack-smoking AA MSM risk behaviors.

Learning Areas:
Planning of health education strategies, interventions, and programs
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Participants will learn the association between crack-use and sexual risk in African American MSM. Discuss possible intervention approaches for crack and non-crack using African American MSM

Keywords: African American, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I have been conducting research on social networks and HIV risk in minority populations for over 5 years.
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.