142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition

Annual Meeting Recordings are now available for purchase

Knowing and disclosing in relationships of behaviorally bisexual African American men and their female partners

142nd APHA Annual Meeting and Exposition (November 15 - November 19, 2014): http://www.apha.org/events-and-meetings/annual
Wednesday, November 19, 2014 : 10:45 AM - 11:00 AM

Sonja Mackenzie, DrPH , Health Equity Institute, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Tazima Jenkins Barnes , Health Equity Institute, San Francisco State University, San Francisco, CA
Background: The highest rates of HIV infection in the U.S. are currently found among urban Black men who have sex with men, including bisexually active men. Sexual risk behaviors are high between Black bisexually active men and their female partners, yet these relationships remain understudied.

Methods: As part of a 5 year study, we analyzed data from in-depth qualitative interviews with a mixed HIV status group of African American behaviorally bisexual men (N=59) and women who were in a relationship with a behaviorally bisexual African American man (N=20).Three trained analysts conducted open coding with ATLAS.ti and analyzed “disclosure” and “knowing” codes.

Results: Men described a spectrum of disclosure of sexual relationships with men to female partners, from men who said they always disclosed, to those who disclosed based on trust to select people. Non disclosure was described in two ways: 1) men who felt that their sexuality should not be public knowledge, and who wanted to remain anonymous because of potential repercussions of disclosure, and 2) men did not consider themselves bisexual or want their sexuality labeled. HIV-negative women were concerned about their HIV risk, but felt that communication with partners was not possible. Women discussed dimensions of 'knowing': physical absence; physical traits; sexual behavior preference; intuition; rumor; men’s prison history; and communication.

Conclusion: Women and men described the importance of disclosure in their relationships, and the need to feel safe to discuss sexual intimacies. HIV prevention interventions must address the relationship context of HIV and support gender-based communication strategies.

Learning Areas:

Public health or related research
Social and behavioral sciences

Learning Objectives:
Identify relationship context of HIV among behaviorally bisexual African American men and their female partners; Describe key elements of disclosure and of knowing for men and women, respectively; Design prevention strategies based on relationship-level data.

Keyword(s): African American, Sexuality

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am the Project Coordinator on this study and have done research and service provision with HIV affected communities for 15 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.