Sexual Orientation- and Race-Based Discrimination and Sexual HIV Risk Behavior Among Urban MSM

Victoria Frye, Vijay Nandi, James Egan, Magdalena Cerda, Emily Greene, Hong Van Tieu, Danielle C. Ompad, Donald R. Hoover, Debbie Lucy, Eduardo Baez, Beryl A. Koblin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

48 Scopus citations


Understanding what social factors are associated with risk of HIV acquisition and transmission among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) is a critical public health goal. Experiencing discrimination may increase risk of HIV infection among MSM. This analysis assessed relations between experiences of sexual orientation- and race-based discrimination and sexual HIV risk behavior among MSM in New York City. 1,369 MSM completed a self-administered computerized assessment of past 3-month sexual behavior, experience of social discrimination and other covariates. Regression models assessed relations between recent experience of discrimination and sexual HIV risk behavior. Mean age was 32 years; 32 % were white; 32 % Latino/Hispanic; 25 % African American/Black. Of MSM who self-reported HIV-positive or unknown status (377), 7 % (N = 27) reported having unprotected insertive anal intercourse with an HIV-negative or unknown status partner (“HIV transmission risk”). Of MSM who self-reported HIV-negative status (992), 11 % (110) reported unprotected receptive anal intercourse with an HIV-positive or unknown status partner (“HIV acquisition risk”). HIV acquisition risk was positively associated with sexual orientation-based discrimination in home or social neighborhoods, but not race-based discrimination. We observed that sexual orientation-based discrimination was associated with sexual HIV risk behavior among urban-dwelling MSM. Addressing environmental sources of this form of discrimination, as well as the psychological distress that may result, should be prioritized in HIV prevention efforts.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)257-269
Number of pages13
JournalAIDS and behavior
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases


  • HIV prevention
  • MSM
  • Sexual behavior
  • Social discrimination

Cite this