Sexual Risk Behavior In Men Attending Mardi Gras Celebrations In New Orleans, Louisiana
Previous research with travelers points to higher risk behaviors during vacations. Relative to their day-to-day lives, leisure travelers have more free time to pursue sexual activities and are likely to engage in higher rates of substance use than when at home. Risk behaviors during vacation have not been thoroughly examined in men who have sex with men (MSM), a key group at risk for HIV. The present investigation examined substance use, sexual risk behaviors, and components of the Information-Motivation-Behavioral Skills (IMB) Model in MSM attending Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans. Almost half of the sexually active men reported having sex with a partner of unknown HIV status while in New Orleans and a similar number did not disclose their own HIV status to all of their sexual partners. Drug use and excessive alcohol use were associated with unprotected sex (ps < .05). Components of the IMB model also predicted sexual risk behavior: individuals with more accurate HIV transmission information reported fewer unprotected sex acts, and motivation to engage in sexual activity on vacation was associated with more unprotected sex (ps < .05). Findings suggest that some MSM on vacation are placing themselves at risk for HIV. Traditional HIV prevention interventions do not readily lend themselves for use with transient populations. New intervention approaches are needed to reduce sexual risk behaviors in persons traveling for leisure.
KeywordsHIV transmission tourists Men who have Sex with Men (MSM) IMB model
This study was supported, in part, by grants R21-MH078790, R34-MH 073409, R01-MH72474, T32-MH19985, K02-MH01919, and P30-MH52776 from the National Institute of Mental Health.
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