AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 23, Issue 6, pp 1452–1459 | Cite as

Intersectional Identities and HIV: Race and Ethnicity Drive Patterns of Sexual Mixing

  • Michelle BirkettEmail author
  • Balint Neray
  • Patrick Janulis
  • Gregory PhillipsII
  • Brian Mustanski
Original Paper


Large disparities exist in HIV across racial and ethnic populations—with Black and Latino populations disproportionately affected. This study utilizes a large cohort of young men who have sex with men (YMSM) to examine how race and ethnicity drive sexual partner selection, and how those with intersecting identities (Latinos who identify as White or Black) differ from Latinos without a specific racial identification (Latinos who identify as “Other”). Data come from YMSM (N = 895) who reported on sexual partners (N = 3244). Sexual mixing patterns differed substantially by race and ethnicity. Latinos who self-identified as “Black” reported mainly Black partners, those who self-identified as “White” predominantly partnered with Whites, while those who self-identified as “Other” mainly partnered with Latinos. Results suggested that Black-Latino YMSM are an important population for prevention, as their HIV prevalence neared that of Black YMSM, and their patterns of sexual partnership suggested that they may bridge Black YMSM and Other-Latino YMSM populations.


HIV Race/ethnicity Latino Sexual networks Disparities 



This study was funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse: K08DA037825, PI: Birkett; U01DA036939, PI: Mustanski.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

All authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed Consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.


  1. 1.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diagnoses of HIV infection in the United States and dependent areas, 2016. In: Services DoHaH, editor. Atlanta, Georgia: Division of HIV/AIDS Prevention, National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD, and TB Prevention, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; 2017.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CDC health disparities and inequalities report—United States, 2013. MMWR Suppl. 2013;62(3):1–189.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Taylor P, Lopez MH, Martínez J, Velasco G. When labels don’t fit: hispanics and their views of identity: Pew Research Center; 2012.
  4. 4.
    Amaro H, Zambrana RE. Criollo, mestizo, mulato, LatiNegro, indigena, white, or black? The US Hispanic/Latino population and multiple responses in the 2000 census. Am J Public Health. 2000;90(11):1724–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Cuevas AG, Dawson BA, Williams DR. Race and skin color in Latino health: an analytic review. Am J Public Health. 2016;106(12):2131–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Borrell LN, Crawford ND. Race, ethnicity, and self-rated health status in the behavioral risk factor surveillance system survey. Hisp J Behav Sci. 2006;28(3):387–403.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Borrell LN, Dallo FJ. Self-rated health and race among Hispanic and Non-Hispanic adults. J Immigr Minor Health. 2008;10(3):229–38.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Ramos B, Jaccard J, Guilamo-Ramos V. Dual ethnicity and depressive symptoms: implications of being black and Latino in the United States. Hisp J Behav Sci. 2003;25(2):147–73.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Garcia J, Parker C, Parker RG, Wilson PA, Philbin MM, Hirsch JS. “You’re Really Gonna Kick Us All Out?” Sustaining safe spaces for community-based HIV prevention and control among black men who have sex with men. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(10):e0141326.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV among Latinos. CDC Fact Sheet; 2017:1–2.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Sheehan DM, Trepka MJ, Fennie KP, Prado G, Cano MA, Maddox LM. Black-White Latino racial disparities in HIV Survival, Florida, 2000-2011. Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2016;13(1):9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Tieu HV, Liu TY, Hussen S, Connor M, Wang L, Buchbinder S, et al. Sexual networks and HIV risk among black men who have sex with men in 6 U.S. cities. PLoS ONE. 2015;10(8):e0134085.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. 13.
    Birkett M, Kuhns LM, Latkin C, Muth S, Mustanski B. The sexual networks of racially diverse young men who have sex with men. Arch Sex Behav. 2015;44(7):1787–97.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Berry M, Raymond HF, McFarland W. Same race and older partner selection may explain higher HIV prevalence among black men who have sex with men. AIDS. 2007;21(17):2349–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    Raymond HF, McFarland W. Racial mixing and HIV risk among men who have sex with men. AIDS Behav. 2009;13(4):630–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. 16.
    McPherson M, Smith-Lovin L, Cook JM. Birds of a feather: homophily in social networks. Annu Rev Sociol. 2001;27:415–44.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Sudhinaraset M, Raymond HF, McFarland W. Convergence of HIV prevalence and inter-racial sexual mixing among men who have sex with men, San Francisco, 2004-2011. AIDS Behav. 2013;17(4):1550–6.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Janulis P, Phillips G 2nd, Birkett M, Mustanski B. Sexual networks of racially diverse young MSM differ in racial homophily but not concurrency. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2017;77(5):459–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. 19.
    Clerkin EM, Newcomb ME, Mustanski B. Unpacking the racial disparity in HIV rates: the effect of race on risky sexual behavior among Black young men who have sex with men (YMSM). J Behav Med. 2011;34(4):237–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Newcomb ME, Mustanski B. Racial differences in same-race partnering and the effects of sexual partnership characteristics on HIV risk in MSM: a prospective sexual diary study. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2013;62(3):329–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Bingham TA, Harawa NT, Johnson DF. The effect of partner characteristics on HIV infection among men who have sex with men in Los Angeles, CA. Am J Epidemiol. 2001;153(11):S193.Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Phillips G 2nd, Birkett M, Hammond S, Mustanski B. Partner preference among men who have sex with men: potential contribution to spread of HIV within minority populations. LGBT Health. 2016;3(3):225–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Tieu HV, Nandi V, Hoover DR, Lucy D, Stewart K, Frye V, et al. Do sexual networks of men who have sex with men in New York city differ by race/ethnicity? AIDS Patient Care STDS. 2016;30(1):39–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Anderson RM, Gupta S, Ng W. The significance of sexual partner contact networks for the transmission dynamics of HIV. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 1990;3(4):417–29.Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Hogan B, Melville JR, Philips GL 2nd, Janulis P, Contractor N, Mustanski BS, et al. Evaluating the paper-to-screen translation of participant-aided sociograms with high-risk participants. Proc SIGCHI Conf Hum Factor Comput Syst. 2016;2016:5360–71.Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Health NIo. NIH policy on reporting race and ethnicity data: Subjects in clinical research. National Institutes of Health; 2001.
  27. 27.
    Phillips G 2nd, Janulis P, Mustanski B, Birkett M. Validation of tie corroboration and reported alter characteristics among a sample of young men who have sex with men. Soc Netw. 2017;48:250–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Krackhardt D, Stern RN. Informal networks and organizational crises—an experimental simulation. Soc Psychol Q. 1988;51(2):123–40.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. 29.
    Thissen D, Steinberg L, Kuang D. Quick and easy implementation of the Benjamini-Hochberg procedure for controlling the false positive rate in multiple comparisons. J Educ Behav Stat. 2002;27(1):77–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. 30.
    R Core Team. R: a language and environment for statistical computing. Vienna: R Foundation for Statistical Computing; 2017.Google Scholar
  31. 31.
    Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. HIV among African Americans. CDC Fact Sheet. 2015:1–2.Google Scholar
  32. 32.
    Humes KR, Jones, Nicholas A., Ramirez, Roberto R. Overview of Race and Hispanic Origin: 2010. In: Commerce USDo, editor. United States Census Bureau; 2011.Google Scholar
  33. 33.
    Logan JR. How race counts for Hispanic Americans. Albany: University of Albany; 2003.Google Scholar
  34. 34.
    Beck EC, Birkett M, Armbruster B, Mustanski B. A data-driven simulation of HIV spread among young men who have sex with men: role of age and race mixing and STIs. J Acquir Immune Defic Syndr. 2015;70(2):186–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. 35.
    Mustanski B, Birkett M, Kuhns LM, Latkin CA, Muth SQ. The role of geographic and network factors in racial disparities in HIV among young men who have sex with men: an egocentric network study. AIDS Behav. 2015;19(6):1037–47.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. 36.
    U.S. Census Bureau. Summary File 1, Race and Hispanic or Latino Origin; generated by Michelle Birkett, using American FactFinder; 2010. Accessed 27 Feb 2018.

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Medical Social Sciences, Feinberg School of MedicineNorthwestern UniversityChicagoUSA

Personalised recommendations