Higher HIV rates among black MSM in the US may be linked to attitudes about homosexuality

Published: September 21, 2010

Higher prevalence of negative attitudes about homosexuality among African-Americans than among whites may help to account for why the US AIDS epidemic has disproportionately struck African-American men who have sex with men (MSM).

Two US researchers have proposed this association on the basis of their analysis of a long-running annual survey of US households. Their study appears in as an advance online publication of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.

Study data were drawn from the General Social Survey (GSS), a recurring cross-sectional survey that began asking respondents about their perspectives on same-sex sexual activity in 1973.

The researchers found that starting in the 1990s, there has been a sharp divergence in the proportions of blacks and whites who think that homosexuality is “always wrong.” By 2008, 72.3% of blacks held this view (95% confidence interval[CI], 65.2% – 78.5%) while only 51.7% of whites did so (95% CI, 48.7% to 54.7%).

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