A new study led by Dr. Typhanye V. Dyer, an assistant professor in the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s department of epidemiology and biostatistics, explores the differences in psychosocial and HIV-related risk behaviors of bisexual men and gay men and underscores the need for tailored intervention strategies for bisexual men.
In the United States, HIV continues to be a major public health issue. Conducted to assess integrative HIV-prevention and intervention strategies among black gay and bisexual men in the U.S., the year-long HIV Prevention Trials Network Broadening the Reach of Testing, Health Education, Resources, and Services “BROTHERS” (HPTN 061) study highlighted the severely disproportionate risk of HIV among Black gay and bisexual men. Data from the HPTN 061 study showed that although HIV incidence over the year was highest among Black gay men, the incidence was also high among Black bisexual men.
Analyzing six and 12 month follow up data from the HPTN 061 study, the researchers categorized participants by sexual partner type. They examined substance use, sex risks, and psychosocial characteristics. Controlling for sociodemographics, time-varying effects, and intervention status, they found that Black bisexual men had increased odds of engaging in more substance use and were also more psychosocially vulnerable with elevated risk of engaging in HIV-related sexual risk behaviors when engaging in sex with men.
The researchers highlight the “persistent risks and vulnerability” among black bisexual men and underline issues of misclassification bias when this group is included in studies tailored for black gay men. The researchers suggest: “Future intervention research should focus on ways to address changes in substance-related HIV-transmission behaviors over time in this population of men.”
The study, “Differential Patterns of Risk and Vulnerability Suggest the Need for Novel Prevention Strategies for Black Bisexual Men,” was published in the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes.