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The Influence of Partner Type and Risk Status on the Sexual Behavior of Young Men Who Have Sex With Men Living With HIV/AIDS

Lightfoot, Marguerita PhD*; Song, Juwon PhD*; Rotheram-Borus, Mary Jane PhD*; Newman, Peter PhD

JAIDS Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes: January 1st, 2005 - Volume 38 - Issue 1 - p 61-68
Epidemiology and Social Science

Objectives: The influence of partner type and risk status on the unprotected sexual behavior of young men living with HIV (YMLH) who have sex with men is examined.

Methods: Sexual behavior and sexual partner characteristics of 217 YMLH recruited from adolescent care clinics in 4 AIDS epicenters (Los Angeles, San Francisco, New York, and Miami) were assessed. YMLH were categorized by sexual behavior pattern, and sexual partners were classified by type and risk status. Generalized linear modeling employing overdispersed Poisson distribution was used to analyze the effect of partner type and partner risk status on unprotected sex acts.

Results: Most YMLH (62%) reported multiple partners, 26% reported 1 sexual partner, and 12% reported abstinence in the past 3 months. Approximately 34% of polygamous and 28% of monogamous youth engaged in unprotected sex. Monogamous youth were most likely to have unprotected sex with HIV-positive partners. Polygamous youth were most likely to have unprotected sex with HIV-positive partners, irrespective of whether the partner was regular or casual. For polygamous YMLH, unprotected sex did not differ among single-time/new partners with different risk levels.

Conclusions: Partner characteristics influence the condom use behavior of YMLH. YMLH make decisions regarding condom use based on perception of their partner's risk. Preventive interventions must include skills for acquiring accurate information about partner risk status and education regarding the health risks of unprotected sex with HIV seroconcordant partners.

From the *Center for HIV Identification, Prevention, and Treatment Services, AIDS Institute, Department of Psychiatry, University of California, Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA; and †Faculty of Social Work, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

Received for publication April 15, 2004; accepted June 11, 2004.

Supported by grant R01 DA-07903 from the National Institute on Drug Abuse.

Reprints: Marguerita Lightfoot, 10920 Wilshire Boulevard, Suite 350, Los Angeles, CA 90024 (e-mail:

© 2005 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.