According to a National Institute of Health-funded study, African-American men in same sex relationships are more inclined to use condoms compared to Caucasian men in same sex relationships.
The study, which was conducted at San Francisco State University, discovered African-American men and Caucasian men evaluate information regarding HIV in different ways. For African-American men, the choice to use condoms is non-negotiable whereas a variety of Caucasian couples, despite their HIV status, do not use condoms. Many of the couples form their decision by weighting the risk factors and benefits of unprotected sex with one another. Interracial couples (African-American and Caucasian couples) were divided between using condoms or not using condoms.
Caucasian and African-American men in same sex relationships account for the bulk of new HIV cases nationwide according to expert.
Additional research uncovered that Caucasian and interracial couples, who have partners with different HIV status, stated a major factor in their decision-making relies on the health of the HIV positive partner. The couples believed that if the HIV positive partner has a low viral load and is taking HIV medication, it lowers the risk of transmission. Furthermore, research also suggested due to advancement in HIV treatment and testing, some gay couples are abandoning condom use.
According to Colleen Hoff, professor of sexual studies at San Francisco State University and director of the University's Center for Research and Education on Gender and Sexuality, when one hears he has a lower viral load, he may interpret that decrease risk as a no risk, which in turn changes his perspectives on using condoms.
What was common regardless of race, all couples reported sporadic breaks in their agreements when they participated in unprotected sex with one another what differs are the actions following the break in agreement. African-American couples are more inclined to discuss the incident, get tested and return to condom use. Caucasians and interracial couples are more prone to continue to engage in sex without condom use.
The research will be presented at the XIX International AIDS Conference, taking place July 22 – 27 in Washington D.C. It will be presented by Chad Campbell, director of the "You and Me" study at San Francisco State University.