Online Program

A comparison of condom use, HIV and sexual health screenings between MSM with and without military service

Wednesday, November 6, 2013 : 9:18 a.m. - 9:30 a.m.

David A. Moskowitz, PhD, Epidemiology and Community Health, New York Medical College, Valhalla, NY
Phillip Schnarrs, PhD, Department of Kinesiology, Health & Nutrition, University of Texas at San Antonio, San Antonio, TX
Previous research suggests that US military servicemen participate in higher risk activities, especially veterans, when compared to civilian populations. Similar to other sorts of communities, there may be unique factors influencing behaviors of those identifying as part of the military, in particular gay and bisexual male servicemen. Coupled with the lack of research on sexual minority servicemen, an investigation of this group's sexual health behaviors and HIV/STI status is warranted.

A sample of 899 respondents were recruited via web-posting and emails from various gay-related websites to complete an online survey examining sexual behaviors, health status and condoms use. Multiple logistic regression was used to analyze hypothesized relationships between the data.

Contrary to our hypotheses, servicemen were more likely to report using a condom during receptive (p = .01, OR=1.61, 95% CI=1.11-2.35) and insertive (p = .04, OR=1.50, 95% CI=1.02-2.18) anal intercourse compared to civilians. Additionally, participants with military service had shorter HIV/STI testing latencies compared to respondents without military service.

Military service may serve as a protective factor among sexual minority men. This protective factor may be related to fears of sexual orientation being disclosed. Alternatively, they may be an outcome related to personal characteristics or an artifact of the learned behaviors “to protect and serve.” Granted, servicemen may participate in higher risk behaviors when the outcome will only negatively impact them; however, because sexual activity is an interpersonal process, sexual minority men with military service may feel obligated to protect their sexual partners compared to those without military service.

Learning Areas:

Protection of the public in relation to communicable diseases including prevention or control
Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Describe the differences between military and civilian MSM by behaviorsIdentify the ways in which military and civilian MSM differ in their risk taking behaviors Assess why the military complex may be somewhat responsible for the engrained safe sex practices they perform

Keyword(s): Gay, Condom Use

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am a seasoned HIV/AIDS researcher who has presented research at APHA for the past 5 years on the subject. I have multiple sexual health studies in the field right now and routinely edit and review studies on gay, bisexual, and MSM.
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.