Partner Preference among Men Who Have Sex with Men: Potential Contribution to Spread of HIV within Minority Populations
immunodeficiency virus (HIV) disproportionately affects men who have sex with
men (MSM) in the United States. Most prior research into drivers of HIV
transmission has focused on individual characteristics rather than on
dyadic-level behaviors such as sex partner selection. This article explores
racial/ethnic preferences in sex and relationship partner selection among MSM
to further contextualize the spread of HIV within minority groups.
were recruited through a mobile application (app) for men to meet other men in
2015 and completed an online survey on behaviors related to HIV risk. All
analyses on the sample of 530 MSM were conducted in 2015.
significant homophily in partner selection within racial/ethnic minorities, but
not for white MSM. In general, mobile app-using MSM reported a general
preference for white and Hispanic men and a dispreference for black and Asian
men, both for sex and relationship partners.
preferences were found to drive intentions to form partnerships within this
sample. Combined with the stigma many of these racial/ethnic minorities may
also feel from homophobic attitudes within their own racial/ethnic communities,
these MSM may be at particular risk for social isolation. These partner
preferences likely affect the structure of the sexual networks of MSM and may
contribute to increased clustering within high HIV incident sexual networks.