Risk Factors for Black MSM


African-Americans in the US are disproportionately affected by the HIV epidemic. Blacks comprise 33% of all diagnosed AIDS cases in the US, yet represent only 11% of the general population.

Although HIV transmission in African-American communities is primarily viewed as a problem among heterosexual IDUs and their sexual partners, the proportion of AIDS cases among African-Americans attributed to male homosexual/bisexual activity (36%) is almost equal to that attributed to injection drug use (38%).

Gay/bisexual African-American men are one of the populations with the fastest growing number of AIDS cases. In Washington, DC, White gay/bisexual men showed a 16% decrease in AIDS incidence between 1988 and 1993, while African-American gay/bisexual men showed a 63% increase.

In a survey of African-American gay and bisexual men in the San Francisco Bay Area, more than 50% reported unprotected anal intercourse, a considerably higher percentage than among white gay men. Those men were more likely to be poor, to have been paid for sex, or to have used injection drugs; to engage in unprotected sex despite knowing risk of HIV infection; and to report less social support. Men with negative expectations and beliefs about condoms were less likely to use them.

For more information, please check out the CAPS fact sheets:

Last modified: February 7, 2011