Homophobia and the heightened HIV risk for black gay men

Published: November 18, 2010

In the District of Columbia, 26 percent of black men who have sex with men are HIV positive, compared to 8 percent of white men and 7 percent of Latino men who have sex with men. A new study hopes to explain that alarming divide.

Why are black gay and bisexual men are at such a heightened risk of infection in D.C.? According to the study’s findings, the high infection rates can’t be attributed to risky sex. But widespread stigma against that sex may be to blame.

According to the study, conducted by researchers in the George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services and the District of Columbia Department of Health, black men who have sex with men "reported fewer sexual risks than non-black" men. Of men who have sex with men in D.C., "black men had fewer male sex partners than non-black, fewer had ever engaged in intentional unprotected anal sex, and more used condoms at last anal sex," the study concluded.

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