November 2, 2011
The authors of the current study compared the social network characteristics of African-American men who have sex with men only (MSMO) with the social network characteristics of African-American men who have sex with men and women (MSMW).
The study's participants were African-American men who have sex with men (n=234) who completed a baseline social network assessment for a pilot behavioral HIV prevention intervention in Baltimore from 2006 to 2009. The researchers surveyed the men to elicit the characteristics of their social networks. Logistic regression models were used to assess differences in network characteristics.
The results showed that MSMO were significantly more likely than were MSMW to be HIV-positive (52 percent vs. 31 percent). "We found no differences between MSMO and MSMW in the size of kin networks or emotional and material support networks," the authors wrote. "MSMW had denser sexual networks, reported more concurrent and exchange partners, used condoms with more sexual partners and reported interaction with a larger number of sexual partners at least once a week."
"Although there were many similarities in the social and sexual network characteristics of MSMO and MSMW, differences did exist," the team concluded. "HIV prevention interventions should address the unique needs of African-American MSMW."