Researchers believe that the high levels of HIV infection among black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the US aren’t simply due to factors such as risky sex, number of sexual partners and drug use.
Studies consistently show very high rates of HIV infection among black MSM in the US. Investigators wanted to get a clearer understanding of the reasons. They therefore reviewed the results of 174 studies addressing this issue.
This meta-analysis showed that black men actually reported fewer HIV risk behaviours, including sex without a condom, than other ethnic groups. Black men also had fewer sex partners and were less likely to report the use of drugs.
However, the investigators found that black men had lower levels of education attainment and were also more likely to be living in relative poverty.
They believe that these social and economic factors mean that black men are more likely to be isolated within their communities, where there is a very high prevalence of HIV.
The meta-analysis also showed that black people with HIV had much lower levels of engagement with HIV care than individuals in other ethnic groups.