Social Network Characteristics and Sexual Risk-Taking among Men Who Have Sex with Men in Atlanta, GA

Catherine Finneran, Emory University
Ayesha McAdams-Mahmoud, Emory University
Rob Stephenson, Emory University

Sixty-one percent of new HIV infections in the US are among men who have sex with men (MSM). Little research has focused on how social networks shape sexual risk-taking among MSM; that is, if networks provide either opportunities for risky sexual partnering or role-modeling of sexual risk reduction. We examine how the characteristics of MSM social networks shape reported sexual risk-taking. A logistic model controlling for demographic/SES characteristics is fitted to a binary outcome measuring unprotected anal sex at last intercourse, with key covariates being characteristics – race, age, relationship status, sexual identity – of the respondent’s social network. Results indicate that MSM were significantly more likely to use condoms at last anal sex if they reported being more “out” as MSM and if they had more friends who identified as LGBTQ and are in relationships. The results strongly suggest that social network composition influences condom use among MSM.

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Presented in Poster Session 2