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)
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Study Section
Behavioral and Social Science Approaches to Preventing HIV/AIDS Study Section (BSPH)
Program Officer
Schulden, Jeffrey D
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Northwestern University at Chicago
Public Health & Prev Medicine
Schools of Medicine
United States
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McConnell, Elizabeth A; Janulis, Patrick; Phillips 2nd, Gregory et al. (2018) Multiple Minority Stress and LGBT Community Resilience among Sexual Minority Men. Psychol Sex Orientat Gend Divers 5:1-12
Birkett, Michelle; Neray, Balint; Janulis, Patrick et al. (2018) Intersectional Identities and HIV: Race and Ethnicity Drive Patterns of Sexual Mixing. AIDS Behav :
Janulis, Patrick; Phillips, Gregory; Birkett, Michelle et al. (2018) Sexual Networks of Racially Diverse Young MSM Differ in Racial Homophily But Not Concurrency. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr 77:459-466
Cimpian, Joseph R; Timmer, Jennifer D; Birkett, Michelle A et al. (2018) Bias From Potentially Mischievous Responders on Large-Scale Estimates of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, or Questioning (LGBQ)-Heterosexual Youth Health Disparities. Am J Public Health 108:S258-S265
McConnell, Elizabeth; Néray, Bálint; Hogan, Bernie et al. (2018) ""Everybody Puts Their Whole Life on Facebook"": Identity Management and the Online Social Networks of LGBTQ Youth. Int J Environ Res Public Health 15:
Salamanca, Paul; Janulis, Patrick; Elliott, Mich et al. (2018) An Investigation of Racial and Ethnic Homophily on Grindr Among an Ongoing Cohort Study of YMSM. AIDS Behav :
Janulis, Patrick; Feinstein, Brian A; Phillips 2nd, Gregory et al. (2018) Sexual Partner Typologies and the Association Between Drug Use and Sexual Risk Behavior Among Young Men Who Have Sex With Men. Arch Sex Behav 47:259-271
Phillips 2nd, Gregory; Birkett, Michelle; Salamanca, Paul et al. (2018) Interplay of Race and Criminal Justice Involvement on Sexual Behaviors of Young Men Who Have Sex With Men. J Adolesc Health 63:197-204
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

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