Sexual and Drug Behavior Patterns and HIV and STD Racial Disparities: The Need for New Directions

Pacific Institute for Research and Evaluation, Chapel Hill, NC, USA.
American Journal of Public Health (Impact Factor: 4.55). 02/2007; 97(1):125-32. DOI: 10.2105/AJPH.2005.075747
Source: PubMed


We used nationally representative data to examine whether individuals' sexual and drug behavior patterns account for racial disparities in sexually transmitted disease (STD) and HIV prevalence.
Data were derived from wave III of the National Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health. Participants were aged 18 to 26 years old; analyses were limited to non-Hispanic Blacks and Whites. Theory and cluster analyses yielded 16 unique behavior patterns. Bivariate analyses compared STD and HIV prevalences for each behavior pattern, by race. Logistic regression analyses examined within-pattern race effects before and after control for covariates.
Unadjusted odds of STD and HIV infection were significantly higher among Blacks than among Whites for 11 of the risk behavior patterns assessed. Across behavior patterns, covariates had little effect on reducing race odds ratios.
White young adults in the United States are at elevated STD and HIV risk when they engage in high-risk behaviors. Black young adults, however, are at high risk even when their behaviors are normative. Factors other than individual risk behaviors and covariates appear to account for racial disparities, indicating the need for population-level interventions.

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    • "High-risk sex among African American youth has been found to be more prevalent when compared to other racial and ethnic groups (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2012a, b). However, other factors, beyond individual risk behaviors, may explain this high risk behavior among African American youth (Hallfors et al. 2007; Halpern et al. 2004). Among low-income African Americans , high-risk sex may reflect attempts to survive depressed economic conditions. "
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    ABSTRACT: African American women at increased risk of HIV/sexually transmitted infection (STI) may engage in risky sex as a coping mechanism for depressed economic conditions. This study examines the association between high-risk sexual behavior and structural determinants of sexual health among a sample of young African American women. 237 young African American women (16-19 years old) from economically disadvantaged neighborhoods in North Carolina were enrolled into a randomized trial testing the efficacy of an adapted HIV/STI prevention intervention. Logistic regression analyses predicted the likelihood that young women reporting lack of food at home, homelessness and low future prospects would also report sexual risk behaviors. Young women reporting a lack of food at home (22 %), homelessness (27 %), and low perceived education/employment prospects (19 %) had between 2.2 and 4.7 times the odds as those not reporting these risk factors of reporting multiple sex partners, risky sex partners including older men and partners involved in gangs, substance use prior to sex, and exchange sex. Self-reported structural determinants of sexual health were associated with myriad sexual risk behaviors. Diminished economic conditions among these young women may lead to sexual risk due to hopelessness, the need for survival or other factors.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2014 · American Journal of Community Psychology
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    • "• In 2008, 22% of New York City (NYC) new HIV diagnoses (3,809) were attributable to heterosexual transmission (NYC DOHMH, 2009) • Disproportionately affects women ‐ 72% of new HIV diagnoses in women • Sexual risk behaviors and sexually transmitted disease (STD) cofactors alone do not explain the heterosexual spread of HIV (Hallfors, DD et al., 2007) • Sex partner concurrency may help to explain variation in the heterosexual spread of HIV and other STDs, e.g., in sub‐Saharan Africa and US urban areas "
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    ABSTRACT: Inconsistent findings on the relationship of sex partner concurrency to infection with HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) may result from differences in how sex partner concurrency is conceptualized. We examine the relationship of reciprocal sex partner concurrency (RSPC) to diagnosed STDs among heterosexuals. Heterosexually active adults (N = 717) were recruited for a cross-sectional study using respondent-driven sampling (RDS) from high-HIV-risk areas in New York City (NYC, 2006-2007) and interviewed about their sexual risk behaviors, number of sex partners, last sex partners, and STD diagnoses (prior 12 months). RSPC was when both the participant and her/his last sex partner had sex with other people during their sexual relationship. Odds ratios (OR), adjusted odds ratios (aOR), and 95 % confidence intervals (95%CI) were estimated by logistic regression. The sample was 52.4 % female, 74.3 % Black; median age was 40 years. RSPC was reported by 40.7 % and any STD diagnoses by 23.4 %. Any STDs was reported by 31.5 % of those reporting RSPC vs. 17.9 % of those who did not (OR = 2.11, 95%CI = 1.49-3.0). Any STDs was independently associated with RSPC (aOR = 1.54, 95%CI = 1.02-2.32), female gender (aOR = 2.15, 95%CI = 1.43-3.23), having more than three sex partners (aOR = 1.72, 95%CI = 1.13-2.63), and unprotected anal sex (aOR = 1.65, 95%CI = 1.12-2.42). Heterosexuals in high-HIV-risk neighborhoods in sexual partnerships that involve RSPC are at greater risk of STDs and, potentially, HIV. RSPC, in addition to sexual risk behaviors and the number of sex partners, may facilitate the heterosexual spread of HIV through STD cofactors and linkage into larger STD/HIV sexual transmission networks.
    Full-text · Article · Jun 2012 · Journal of Urban Health
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    • "Risk behaviors such as condom use, drug use and number of lifetime sexual partners do fully not explain racial disparities in HIV infection [4], and a growing body of evidence suggests that social and structural factors such as poverty, stigma, incarceration and sexual networks contribute to racial disparities in HIV infection [5]. Behavioral interventions have failed to stem the HIV/AIDS epidemic among African Americans in the US and do not address many of the aforementioned social and structural factors that contribute to HIV infection among African Americans [5]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In Philadelphia, 66% of new HIV infections are among African Americans and 2% of African Americans are living with HIV. The city of Philadelphia has among the largest numbers of faith institutions of any city in the country. Although faith-based institutions play an important role in the African American community, their response to the AIDS epidemic has historically been lacking. We convened 38 of Philadelphia's most influential African American faith leaders for in-depth interviews and focus groups examining the role of faith-based institutions in HIV prevention. Participants were asked to comment on barriers to engaging faith-based leaders in HIV prevention and were asked to provide normative recommendations for how African American faith institutions can enhance HIV/AIDS prevention and reduce racial disparities in HIV infection. Many faith leaders cited lack of knowledge about Philadelphia's racial disparities in HIV infection as a common reason for not previously engaging in HIV programs; others noted their congregations' existing HIV prevention and outreach programs and shared lessons learned. Barriers to engaging the faith community in HIV prevention included: concerns about tacitly endorsing extramarital sex by promoting condom use, lack of educational information appropriate for a faith-based audience, and fear of losing congregants and revenue as a result of discussing human sexuality and HIV/AIDS from the pulpit. However, many leaders expressed a moral imperative to respond to the AIDS epidemic, and believed clergy should play a greater role in HIV prevention. Many participants noted that controversy surrounding homosexuality has historically divided the faith community and prohibited an appropriate response to the epidemic; many expressed interest in balancing traditional theology with practical public health approaches to HIV prevention. Leaders suggested the faith community should: promote HIV testing, including during or after worship services and in clinical settings; integrate HIV/AIDS topics into health messaging and sermons; couch HIV/AIDS in social justice, human rights and public health language rather than in sexual risk behavior terms; embrace diverse approaches to HIV prevention in their houses of worship; conduct community outreach and host educational sessions for youth; and collaborate on a citywide, interfaith HIV testing and prevention campaign to combat stigma and raise awareness about the African American epidemic. Many African American faith-based leaders are poised to address racial disparities in HIV infection. HIV prevention campaigns should integrate leaders' recommendations for tailoring HIV prevention for a faith-based audience.
    Full-text · Article · May 2012 · PLoS ONE
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