Race/ethnic differences in HIV prevalence and risks among adolescent and young adult men who have sex with men

David D. Celentano, Frangiscos Sifakis, John Hylton, Lucia V. Torian, Vincent Guillin, Beryl A. Koblin

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

42 Scopus citations


The prevalence of HIV infection is disproportionately higher in both racial/ethnic minority men who have sex with men (MSM) and in men under the age of 25, where the leading exposure category is homosexual contact. Less is known, however, about patterns of HIV prevalence in young racial/ethnic minority MSM. We analyzed data from the Young Men's Survey (YMS), an anonymous, cross-sectional survey of 351 MSM in Baltimore and 529 MSM in New York City, aged 15-22, to determine whether race/ethnicity differences exist in the prevalence of HIV infection and associated risk factors. Potential participants were selected systematically at MSM-identified public venues. Venues and associated time periods for subject selection were selected randomly on a monthly basis. Eligible and willing subjects provided informed consent and underwent an interview, HIV pretest counseling, and a blood draw for HIV antibody testing. In multivariate analysis, adjusted for city of recruitment and age, HIV seroprevalence was highest for African Americans [adjusted odds ratio (AOR) = 12.5], intermediate for those of "other/mixed" race/ethnicity (AOR = 8.6), and moderately elevated for Hispanics (AOR = 4.6) as compared to whites. Stratified analysis showed different risk factors for HIV prevalence in each ethnic group: for African Americans, these were history of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and not being in school; for Hispanics, risk factors were being aged 20-22, greater number of male partners and use of recreational drugs; and for those of "other/mixed" race/ethnicity, risk factors included injection drug use and (marginally) STDs. These findings suggest the need for HIV prevention and testing programs which target young racial/ethnic minority MSM and highlight identified risk factors and behaviors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)610-621
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Urban Health
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2005


  • Adolescents
  • Drug use
  • HIV prevalence
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Race ethnicity
  • Sexual behavior

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Urban Studies
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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