AIDS and Behavior

, Volume 22, Issue 6, pp 1814–1825 | Cite as

The Health and Sociocultural Correlates of AIDS Genocidal Beliefs and Medical Mistrust Among African American MSM

  • Katherine G. Quinn
  • Jeffrey A. Kelly
  • Wayne J. DiFranceisco
  • Sergey S. Tarima
  • Andrew E. Petroll
  • Chris Sanders
  • Janet S. St. Lawrence
  • Yuri A. Amirkhanian
Original Paper


This study examined social and health-related correlates of AIDS conspiracy theories among 464 African American men who have sex with men (MSM). Exploratory factor analysis revealed two subscales within the AIDS conspiracy beliefs scale: medical mistrust and AIDS genocidal beliefs. Multiple regression analyses revealed medical mistrust and AIDS genocidal beliefs were both associated negative condom use attitudes and higher levels of internalized homonegativity. Medical mistrust was also associated with lower knowledge of HIV risk reduction strategies. Finally, we conducted bivariate regressions to examine the subsample of participants who reported being HIV-positive and currently taking HIV antiretroviral therapy (ART) to test associations between sexual behavior and HIV treatment and AIDS conspiracy theories. Among this subsample, medical mistrust was associated with having a detectable viral load and not disclosing HIV-status to all partners in the previous 3 months. Collectively, these findings have implications for HIV prevention and treatment for African American MSM.


African American MSM AIDS conspiracy theories Medical mistrust HIV risk 



This research was supported by Grants R01-MH089128 and P30-MH52776 from the National Institute of Mental Health. We would like to thank the study participants and their willingness to participate in this research. We would also like to thank the partners of the Connections Creating Change study team at the Center for AIDS Intervention Research, the AIDS Taskforce of Greater Cleveland, and the South Beach AIDS Project.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors of this study have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Ethical approval

All policies and procedures in this study were reviewed and approved by the Institutional Review Board at the Medical College of Wisconsin. 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

We received written informed consent from all participants in this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Katherine G. Quinn
    • 1
  • Jeffrey A. Kelly
    • 1
  • Wayne J. DiFranceisco
    • 1
  • Sergey S. Tarima
    • 1
    • 2
  • Andrew E. Petroll
    • 1
    • 3
  • Chris Sanders
    • 4
  • Janet S. St. Lawrence
    • 5
  • Yuri A. Amirkhanian
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine, Center for AIDS Intervention ResearchMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  2. 2.Division of Biostatistics, Institute for Health and SocietyMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  3. 3.Division of Infectious Disease, Department of MedicineMedical College of WisconsinMilwaukeeUSA
  4. 4.Department of SociologyLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada
  5. 5.Department of PsychologyPortland State UniversityPortlandUSA

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