HIV infections among young men who have sex with men (YMSM), ages 13-29 in New York City have been steadily increasing over the last decade.
To document the sexual onset and behavior of YMSM as a means for informing the development of new HIV prevention messaging.
Five hundred fifty-eight YMSM, with more than 60% racial/ethnic minorities.
Young adults (25-29 years) reported a greater number of lifetime sexual partners, but the adolescents (13-17 years) and emerging adults (18-24 years) reported having their first sexual encounter with another man at a younger age. Black and Latino men first engaged in various sexual behaviors, including receptive anal intercourse, at a younger age than either Asian/Pacific Islander or white men, and were more likely to report an HIV-seropositive status. Across race/ethnicity, YMSM reported an equivalent number of recent male sex partners and selected both main and casual partners who were age and race/ethnicity matches. During the most recent sexual encounter with a casual male partner, black men were more likely than white men to have had unprotected receptive anal intercourse, whereas white men were more likely to report unprotected oral sex. Black YMSM reported more recent female partners than all other groups.
Black and Latino YMSM may be at increased risk for seroconversion because they tend to start having sex with other men at a younger age than their white and Asian/Pacific Islander peers and because they engage in unprotected sexual behaviors with men of concordant race/ethnicity and of a similar age where levels of viremia may be more elevated but not because of the sheer number of sexual partners.
From the *Center for Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies, Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development, New York University, New York, NY; †New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, New York, NY; and ‡University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, CT.
Received for publication August 23, 2010; accepted October 28, 2010.
This publication contains information, which was obtained under contract with Public Health Solutions on behalf of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
The contents of this article are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene or Public Health Solutions.
Correspondence to: Perry N. Halkitis, PhD, MS, New York University, 82 Washington Square East, Pless, New York, NY 10003 (e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org).