Black men who have sex with men (MSM), especially young MSM, are disproportionately affected by HIV, with an annual incidence higher than any other age or race group. Despite this increasing epidemic, few studies have focused on MSM nor accounted for these disparities. The research that has examined disparities in MSM has been focused on understanding individual-level behavior, but this has been inadequate to explain HIV racial disparities. Additionally, network research is increasingly a priority area in HIV research due to the disease's high transmission dependence on drug and sexual network dynamics. However, network descriptions alone are also inadequate without considering the interplay of individual and contextual factors. Instead, it has been suggested that a broader systems-level perspective may be necessary as several interacting individual, network, and contextual differences may account for the increased epidemic in Black MSM populations. Due to this call for a systems-level perspective in understanding and preventing HIV infection, this grant seeks to advance understandings of HIV racial disparities in MSM by examining individual, sexual network, and social contextual factors within a multilevel network model. This model will be tested within an exceptional U01 NIDA-funded cohort of 1,200 diverse Chicago YMSM (PI: Primary Mentor Mustanski), which is collecting original multilevel (biologic, individual, dyadic, network) data. Utilizing methods developed within the applicant's R03 Project, YMSM will complete social (social, sexual, drug) and contextual (neighborhood & venue) network interviews. Building the study into the U01 cohort allows the current project to benefit from the strong infrastructure and resources of the U01, fortifies this project's feasibility, and provides unique opportunities to expand the aims of the U01. Data from this comprehensive longitudinal multilevel dataset will be used to build and validate a model of social contextual influences on racial disparities in HIV through innovative analyses and methods that account for the complex dynamics of HIV transmission and racial disparities. The overall project has two aims: 1) Identify social contextua factors (i.e., social relational and social contextual) which contribute to racial disparities in HV and 2) Examine the interplay of individual, sexual network, and social contextual factors in racial disparities in HIV. Additional sub- aims include: A) Compare the contribution of each level of analysis to racial disparities in HIV using innovative Multiple-Membership Multiple-Classification Models (MMMC) and B) Understand and validate the relations of individual, sexual network, and social contextual structures and attributes to racial disparities in HIV with ERGM.

Public Health Relevance

Young black men who have sex with men (YMSM) have an alarming HIV/AIDS prevalence, yet the mechanisms driving these disparities are unknown. This proposal aims to examine social contextual influences on HIV disparities by building and validating a multilevel model and examining individual, network, and social contextual factors associated with HIV.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Clinical Investigator Award (CIA) (K08)
Project #
Application #
Study Section
Behavioral and Social Science Approaches to Preventing HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSPH)
Program Officer
Lambert, Elizabeth
Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Northwestern University at Chicago
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
Zip Code
Phillips 2nd, Gregory; Turner, Blair; Salamanca, Paul et al. (2017) Victimization as a mediator of alcohol use disparities between sexual minority subgroups and sexual majority youth using the 2015 National Youth Risk Behavior Survey. Drug Alcohol Depend 178:355-362
McConnell, Elizabeth A; Clifford, Antonia; Korpak, Aaron K et al. (2017) Identity, Victimization, and Support: Facebook Experiences and Mental Health Among LGBTQ Youth. Comput Human Behav 76:237-244
Macapagal, Kathryn; Birkett, Michelle; Janulis, Patrick et al. (2017) HIV Prevention Fatigue and HIV Treatment Optimism Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men. AIDS Educ Prev 29:289-301
Janulis, Patrick; Phillips 2nd, Gregory; Birkett, Michelle et al. (2017) Sexual Networks of Racially Diverse Young Msm Differ in Racial Homophily But not Concurrency. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr :
Phillips 2nd, Gregory; Janulis, Patrick; Mustanski, Brian et al. (2017) Validation of tie corroboration and reported alter characteristics among a sample of young men who have sex with men. Soc Networks 48:250-255
McConnell, Elizabeth A; Birkett, Michelle; Mustanski, Brian (2016) Families Matter: Social Support and Mental Health Trajectories Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Youth. J Adolesc Health 59:674-680
Hogan, Bernie; Melville, Joshua R; Philips 2nd, Gregory Lee et al. (2016) Evaluating the Paper-to-Screen Translation of Participant-Aided Sociograms with High-Risk Participants. Proc SIGCHI Conf Hum Factor Comput Syst 2016:5360-5371
Coulter, Robert W S; Birkett, Michelle; Corliss, Heather L et al. (2016) Associations between LGBTQ-affirmative school climate and adolescent drinking behaviors. Drug Alcohol Depend 161:340-7
Phillips 2nd, Gregory; Birkett, Michelle; Hammond, Sydney et al. (2016) Partner Preference Among Men Who Have Sex with Men: Potential Contribution to Spread of HIV Within Minority Populations. LGBT Health 3:225-32
Janulis, Patrick; Birkett, Michelle; Phillips 2nd, Gregory et al. (2015) Substance use network characteristics and drug and alcohol use behaviors among young men who have sex with men (YMSM). Drug Alcohol Depend 157:188-91

Showing the most recent 10 out of 12 publications