Gay and bisexual men (GBM) and other men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 63% of all new HIV diagnoses in 2010 -they are among the only population in which infections are actually rising. The syndemics model has been applied to MSM finding considerable empirical support for a model in which several specific co-occurring psychosocial health problems (e.g., depression, substance use, trauma from childhood sexual abuse, intimate partner violence) compound risk for HIV. Yet this model does not account for resilience in the face of syndemic factors-there are GBM who experience syndemics and yet do not engage in hazardous (i.e., HIV risk) behavior. Yet, resilience too is not well understood among GBM. The proposed study builds from the syndemics framework by investigating patterns of resilience in a national US sample of GBM. We have partnered with Harris Interactive, Inc., a research firm that maintains the largest and most comprehensive database of GBM, to identify a national sample of 1,000 GBM to participate in a 3- year longitudinal study (Baseline, 12-, 24-, 36-months) investigating patterns and correlates of syndemic, protective, and resilient factors. We propose to collect behavioral and biological outcomes (at-home HIV and STI testing). We will: (1) Determine patterns and prevalence of syndemic factors and risk behavior in a national sample of GBM;(2) Conduct qualitative interviews with a subsample of participants to identify new/unmeasured mechanisms of resilience and to contextualize our quantitative data (Baseline and 36- months);and (3) Longitudinally track trajectories in resilience, syndemics, and HIV and STI incidence to identify psychosocial and behavioral factors associated with these changing trajectories. Our methodological design-including the use of a national sample, longitudinal assessments, biological testing for HIV and STIs-enhances this study's external validity and thus the impact of our findings. And by tracking patterns in syndemics and resilience, this study will inform (1) the development of the next generation of HIV prevention methods and (2) potential ways to improve established CDC DEBIs. Our application addresses an important problem and barrier to progress in the field (a strengths-based approach to HIV prevention among GBM that goes above and beyond general protective factors to examine resilient factors among men with high risk for hazardous behavior). It has potential to improve scientific knowledge regarding HIV prevention efforts with GBM. And understanding resilience in the face of syndemics can change the conceptual approach, treatments, services, and interventions for a population that remains in critical need.

Public Health Relevance

Gay and bisexual men are disproportionally impacted by HIV and STIs. Our investigation of factors that are associated with resilience, HIV risk behavior, and HIV/STI incidence over time will inform (1) the development of the next generation of HIV prevention methods and (2) potential ways to improve established CDC DEBIs. By design, our findings will be generalizable such to inform HIV prevention for gay and bisexual men on a national scale.

Agency
National Institute of Health (NIH)
Institute
National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA)
Type
Research Project (R01)
Project #
5R01DA036466-02
Application #
8691777
Study Section
Behavioral and Social Consequences of HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSCH)
Program Officer
Schulden, Jeffrey D
Project Start
2013-07-01
Project End
2018-03-31
Budget Start
2014-04-01
Budget End
2015-03-31
Support Year
2
Fiscal Year
2014
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
Name
Hunter College
Department
Psychology
Type
Schools of Arts and Sciences
DUNS #
City
New York
State
NY
Country
United States
Zip Code
10065
Whitfield, Thomas H F; Rendina, H Jonathon; Grov, Christian et al. (2017) Sexually Explicit Media and Condomless Anal Sex Among Gay and Bisexual Men. AIDS Behav :
John, Steven A; Rendina, H Jonathon; Grov, Christian et al. (2017) Home-based pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) services for gay and bisexual men: An opportunity to address barriers to PrEP uptake and persistence. PLoS One 12:e0189794
Grov, Christian; Rendina, H Jonathon; Parsons, Jeffrey T (2017) Birth Cohort Differences in Sexual Identity Development Milestones among HIV-Negative Gay and Bisexual Men in the United States. J Sex Res :1-11
Millar, Brett M; Starks, Tyrel J; Grov, Christian et al. (2017) Sexual Risk-Taking in HIV-Negative Gay and Bisexual Men Increases with Depression: Results from a U.S. National Study. AIDS Behav 21:1665-1675
John, Steven A; Starks, Tyrel J; Rendina, H Jonathon et al. (2017) Should I Convince My Partner to Go on Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP)? The Role of Personal and Relationship Factors on PrEP-Related Social Control among Gay and Bisexual Men. AIDS Behav :
Parsons, Jeffrey T; Rendina, H Jonathon; Moody, Raymond L et al. (2017) Feasibility of an Emotion Regulation Intervention to Improve Mental Health and Reduce HIV Transmission Risk Behaviors for HIV-Positive Gay and Bisexual Men with Sexual Compulsivity. AIDS Behav 21:1540-1549
Parsons, Jeffrey T; Millar, Brett M; Moody, Raymond L et al. (2017) Syndemic conditions and HIV transmission risk behavior among HIV-negative gay and bisexual men in a U.S. national sample. Health Psychol 36:695-703
Lassiter, Jonathan M; Saleh, Lena; Starks, Tyrel et al. (2017) Race, Ethnicity, Religious Affiliation, and Education Are Associated With Gay and Bisexual Men's Religious and Spiritual Participation and Beliefs: Results From the One Thousand Strong Cohort. Cultur Divers Ethnic Minor Psychol :
Whitfield, Thomas H F; Rendina, H Jonathon; Grov, Christian et al. (2017) Viewing Sexually Explicit Media and Its Association with Mental Health Among Gay and Bisexual Men Across the U.S. Arch Sex Behav :
Rendina, H Jonathon; Whitfield, Thomas H F; Grov, Christian et al. (2017) Distinguishing hypothetical willingness from behavioral intentions to initiate HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP): Findings from a large cohort of gay and bisexual men in the U.S. Soc Sci Med 172:115-123

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