Publications by authors named "Denton Callander"

61 Publications

Sexual Identity, Sexual Behavior and Pre-exposure Prophylaxis in Black Cisgender Sexual Minority Men: The N2 Cohort Study in Chicago.

AIDS Behav 2021 Apr 14. Epub 2021 Apr 14.

Columbia Spatial Epidemiology Lab, Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, Room 729, New York, NY, 10032, USA.

This study investigated sexual identity and behavior and their potential associations with PrEP use and attitudes in cisgender Black gay and bisexual men. A total of N = 173 (mean age 25.2) participants from the Neighborhoods and Networks (N2) Study in Chicago were included. Of these, 104 were gay-identified and reported sex with men only (GSMO), 26 were gay-identified and reported sex with men and women (GSMW), 8 were bisexual-identified and reported sex with men only (BSMO), and 35 were bisexual-identified and reported sex with men and women (BSMW). Reporting sex with men and women in the past 6 months, RR = 0.39, 95% CI [0.17, 0.89], identifying as bisexual, RR = 0.52, 95% CI [0.29, 0.92], and the combination of the two, RR = 0.24, 95% CI [0.07, 0.76] were significantly associated with lower rates of current oral PrEP use. Black bisexual-identifying men who reported sex with men and women were significantly more likely to have discontinued oral PrEP, RR = 2.50, 95% CI [1.14, 5.50], than Black gay-identified men who reported sex with men only. Participants who had not used oral PrEP before reported lower levels of interest in long-acting injectable PrEP than those who were currently using oral PrEP, RR = 0.56, 95% CI [0.40, 0.79]. No other significant differences were found. Overlooking the combination of sexual identity and behavior may mischaracterize PrEP rates and miss uniquely vulnerable subgroups. Black gay and bisexual men who had not used oral PrEP may be particularly disinterested in long-acting injectable PrEP.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03246-4DOI Listing
April 2021

Geographic Density and Uptake of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) Among Young Gay, Bisexual and Other Sexual Minority Men: A Global Positioning System (GPS) Study.

AIDS Behav 2021 Apr 5. Epub 2021 Apr 5.

Department of Epidemiology, Columbia Spatial Epidemiology Lab, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, 722 West 168th Street, New York, NY, 10032, USA.

The geographic availability of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) providers is one important factor that significantly affects PrEP uptake. While most previous studies have employed spatial accessibility in static residential neighborhood definitions or self-reported healthcare accessibility, we examined the associations of the objectively measured geographic density of PrEP services with current PrEP use, using global positioning system (GPS) among sexual minority men (SMM) in New York City. 250 HIV-negative SMM participated in a 2-week GPS monitoring (January 2017-January 2018). Geographic PrEP density was measured as total numbers of PrEP providers in (1) individual activity space defined as daily path area of GPS points, (2) residential street network buffers and (3) census tract and ZIP code of residential locations. Geographic PrEP density within GPS-based activity space was positively associated with current PrEP use (prevalence ratio for 50-m activity space = 1.10, 95% confidence interval: [1.02, 1.18]). PrEP provider counts in residential buffer areas and administrative neighborhoods were not associated with PrEP use. Although it is not generalizable beyond New York City, our finding suggests the importance of daily mobility pattern in HIV prevention and PrEP implementation strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-021-03249-1DOI Listing
April 2021

Sleep health among transgender women of color in New York City: Preliminary analyses of interim baseline data from the TURNNT study cohort.

Sleep Health 2021 Apr 19;7(2):153-154. Epub 2021 Feb 19.

Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York City, New York, USA.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.sleh.2021.01.005DOI Listing
April 2021

A New Method for Estimating the Incidence of Infectious Diseases.

Am J Epidemiol 2021 Feb 4. Epub 2021 Feb 4.

The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW, Australia.

Ambitious World Health Organization targets for disease elimination require monitoring of epidemics using routine health data in settings of decreasing and low incidence. We evaluated two methods commonly applied to routine testing results to estimate incidence rates that assume uniform probability of infection between consecutive negative and positive tests based on: 1. the midpoint of this interval; and 2. a randomly selected point on this interval. We compared these with an approximation to the Poisson-binomial distribution which assigns partial incidence to time-periods based on the uniform probability of occurrence in these intervals. We assessed bias, variance and convergence of estimates using simulations of Weibull distributed failure times with systematically varied baseline incidence, and varying trend. We considered results for quarterly, half-yearly and yearly incidence estimation frequencies. We applied methods to assess human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) incidence in HIV-negative patients from the Treatment with Antiretrovirals and their Impact on Positive And Negative men study between 2012 and 2018. The Poisson-binomial method had reduced bias and variance at low levels of incidence and for increased estimation frequency, with increased consistency of estimation. Application of methods to real-world assessment of HIV incidence found decreased variance in Poisson-binomial model estimates, with observed incidence declining to levels where simulation results had indicated bias in midpoint and random-point methods.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/aje/kwab014DOI Listing
February 2021

Sexual health and COVID-19: protocol for a scoping review.

Syst Rev 2021 01 23;10(1):37. Epub 2021 Jan 23.

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Project-China, No. 2 Lujing Road, Guangzhou, 510095, China.

Background: Global responses to the COVID-19 pandemic have exposed and exacerbated existing socioeconomic and health inequities that disproportionately affect the sexual health and well-being of many populations, including people of color, ethnic minority groups, women, and sexual and gender minority populations. Although there have been several reviews published on COVID-19 and health disparities across various populations, none has focused on sexual health. We plan to conduct a scoping review that seeks to fill several of the gaps in the current knowledge of sexual health in the COVID-19 era.

Methods: A scoping review focusing on sexual health and COVID-19 will be conducted. We will search (from January 2020 onwards) CINAHL, Africa-Wide Information, Web of Science Core Collection, Embase, Gender Studies Database, Gender Watch, Global Health, WHO Global Literature on Coronavirus Disease Database, WHO Global Index Medicus, PsycINFO, MEDLINE, and Sociological Abstracts. Grey literature will be identified using Disaster Lit, Google Scholar, governmental websites, and clinical trials registries (e.g., ClinicalTrial.gov , World Health Organization, International Clinical Trials Registry Platform, and International Standard Randomized Controlled Trial Number Registry). Study selection will conform to the Joanna Briggs Institute Reviewers' Manual 2015 Methodology for JBI Scoping Reviews. Only English language, original studies will be considered for inclusion. Two reviewers will independently screen all citations, full-text articles, and abstract data. A narrative summary of findings will be conducted. Data analysis will involve quantitative (e.g., frequencies) and qualitative (e.g., content and thematic analysis) methods.

Discussion: Original research is urgently needed to mitigate the risks of COVID-19 on sexual health. The planned scoping review will help to address this gap.

Systematic Review Registrations: Systematic Review Registration: Open Science Framework osf/io/PRX8E.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1186/s13643-021-01591-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7825389PMC
January 2021

High financial hardship and mental health burden among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men.

J Gay Lesbian Ment Health 2020 16;24(3):308-321. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.

Prior research has documented the ways in which financial hardships negatively impact health, particularly mental health. However, this association between financial hardships and mental health outcomes has rarely been examined in sexual minorities. The purpose of this study was to examine associations between financial hardships and mental health burdens among a sample of gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in Paris, France. Participants ( = 580) completed a cross-sectional survey advertised on a geosocial networking application. Participants responded to measures of mental health, financial hardship, and socio-demographics. Modified Poisson models were used to estimate risk ratios (RRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) for the associations between financial hardship and the following outcomes: 1) depressive symptoms, 2) anxiety symptoms, and 3) psychological distress. After adjusting for socio-demographics, high financial hardships were associated with depressive symptoms (aRR: 1.48, 95% CI: 1.04, 2.11) and psychological distress (aRR: 1.56, 95% CI: 1.09, 2.23). Analyses also demonstrated that stress acts as a mediating variable. These preliminary results suggest that future interventions to reduce financial hardships may have positive effects on the mental health of such a population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/19359705.2019.1688217DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7462116PMC
March 2020

Sex workers are returning to work and require enhanced support in the face of COVID-19: results from a longitudinal analysis of online sex work activity and a content analysis of safer sex work guidelines.

Sex Health 2020 08;17(4):384-386

Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, 722 W 168th Street, New York, NY 10032, USA.

Sex workers confront unique challenges in the face of COVID-19. Data from an international sex work website popular with cisgender men and transgender men and women suggest that, after a period of physical distancing, many sex workers are returning to in-person work: from May to August 2020, active sex work profiles increased 9.4% (P < 0.001) and newly created profiles increased by 35.6% (P < 0.001). Analysis of sex work and COVID-19 guidelines published by five community-based organisations found that they focused on altering sexual practices, enhancing hygiene and pivoting to virtual work. To capitalise on these guidelines, funding and research for implementation and evaluation are needed to support COVID-19 risk reduction strategies for sex workers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH20128DOI Listing
August 2020

Investigating the effects of COVID-19 on global male sex work populations: a longitudinal study of digital data.

Sex Transm Infect 2021 03 26;97(2):93-98. Epub 2020 Jun 26.

Department of Epidemiology, Mailman School of Public Health, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.

Objectives: Recommendations of 'social distancing' and home quarantines to combat the global COVID-19 pandemic have implications for sex and intimacy, including sex work. This study examined the effects of COVID-19 on male sex work globally and investigated how men who sold sex responded to and engaged with the virus in the context of work.

Methods: This study made use of an existing database of deidentified data extracted from the online profiles maintained by male sex workers on a large, international website. Website engagement metrics were calculated for the periods before (September to December 2019) and during COVID-19 (January to May 2020); Poisson regression analyses were used to assess changes over time before and after, while a content analysis was undertaken to identify modes of engagement with the virus.

Results: Data were collected from 78 399 profiles representing 19 388 individuals. In the 'before' period, the number of active profiles was stable (inter-rate ratio (IRR)=1.01, 95% CI 0.99 to 1.01, p=0.339) but during COVID-19 decreased by 26.3% (IRR=0.90, 95% CI 0.89 to 0.91, p<0.001). Newly created profiles also decreased during COVID-19 (59.4%; IRR=0.71, 95% CI 0.69 to 0.74, p<0.001) after a period of stability. In total, 211 unique profiles explicitly referenced COVID-19; 185 (85.8%) evoked risk reduction strategies, including discontinuation of in-person services (41.2%), pivoting to virtual services (38.9%), COVID-19 status disclosure (20.9%), enhanced sanitary and screening requirements (12.3%) and restricted travel (5.2%). Some profiles, however, seemed to downplay the seriousness of COVID-19 or resist protective measures (14.7%).

Conclusions: These findings support the contention that COVID-19 has dramatically impacted the sex industry; globally, male sex workers may be facing considerable economic strain. Targeted education and outreach are needed to support male sex workers grappling with COVID-19, including around the most effective risk reduction strategies. Those involved with the sex industry must have access to state-sponsored COVID-19 financial and other aid programmes to support individual and public health.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2020-054550DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7371479PMC
March 2021

Privacy-Preserving Record Linkage of Deidentified Records Within a Public Health Surveillance System: Evaluation Study.

J Med Internet Res 2020 06 24;22(6):e16757. Epub 2020 Jun 24.

Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: The Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance (ACCESS) was established to monitor national testing and test outcomes for blood-borne viruses (BBVs) and sexually transmissible infections (STIs) in key populations. ACCESS extracts deidentified data from sentinel health services that include general practice, sexual health, and infectious disease clinics, as well as public and private laboratories that conduct a large volume of BBV/STI testing. An important attribute of ACCESS is the ability to accurately link individual-level records within and between the participating sites, as this enables the system to produce reliable epidemiological measures.

Objective: The aim of this study was to evaluate the use of GRHANITE software in ACCESS to extract and link deidentified data from participating clinics and laboratories. GRHANITE generates irreversible hashed linkage keys based on patient-identifying data captured in the patient electronic medical records (EMRs) at the site. The algorithms to produce the data linkage keys use probabilistic linkage principles to account for variability and completeness of the underlying patient identifiers, producing up to four linkage key types per EMR. Errors in the linkage process can arise from imperfect or missing identifiers, impacting the system's integrity. Therefore, it is important to evaluate the quality of the linkages created and evaluate the outcome of the linkage for ongoing public health surveillance.

Methods: Although ACCESS data are deidentified, we created two gold-standard datasets where the true match status could be confirmed in order to compare against record linkage results arising from different approaches of the GRHANITE Linkage Tool. We reported sensitivity, specificity, and positive and negative predictive values where possible and estimated specificity by comparing a history of HIV and hepatitis C antibody results for linked EMRs.

Results: Sensitivity ranged from 96% to 100%, and specificity was 100% when applying the GRHANITE Linkage Tool to a small gold-standard dataset of 3700 clinical medical records. Medical records in this dataset contained a very high level of data completeness by having the name, date of birth, post code, and Medicare number available for use in record linkage. In a larger gold-standard dataset containing 86,538 medical records across clinics and pathology services, with a lower level of data completeness, sensitivity ranged from 94% to 95% and estimated specificity ranged from 91% to 99% in 4 of the 6 different record linkage approaches.

Conclusions: This study's findings suggest that the GRHANITE Linkage Tool can be used to link deidentified patient records accurately and can be confidently used for public health surveillance in systems such as ACCESS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/16757DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7381059PMC
June 2020

Associations of spatial mobility with sexual risk behaviors among young men who have sex with men in New York City: A global positioning system (GPS) study.

Soc Sci Med 2020 08 20;258:113060. Epub 2020 May 20.

Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, United States.

Spatial contexts and spatial mobility are important factors of the HIV epidemic and sexually transmitted infections. Using global positioning system (GPS) devices, we examined the associations of objectively measured spatial mobility with sexual risk behaviors among gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York City. This observational study included a subgroup of 253 HIV-negative MSM from the Project 18 Cohort Study, who participated in the GPS monitoring sub-study. Spatial mobility was measured as (1) distance traveled and (2) activity space size defined as daily path area during 2-week of GPS tracking. We examined the associations of these measures with numbers of male sexual partners and condomless anal intercourse (CAI) acts during last six months using quasi-Poisson models, adjusting for socio-demographics. Results demonstrated that spatial mobility was positively associated with sexual risk behaviors, for example, with CAI (incidence rate ratio [IRR] = 1.01 for a 10 km increase in distance traveled and IRR = 1.04 for a 1 km increase in 50 m-buffer activity space size). Our findings may enhance the understanding of spatial contexts of HIV risk. Future studies should be conducted to examine the mechanisms for the associations between spatial mobility behaviors with sexual risk behaviors as well as the influence of neighborhood characteristics in various neighborhood contexts, which may guide the place-based HIV prevention services.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.socscimed.2020.113060DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7373175PMC
August 2020

Social-Environmental Resilience, PrEP Uptake, and Viral Suppression among Young Black Men Who Have Sex with Men and Young Black Transgender Women: the Neighborhoods and Networks (N2) Study in Chicago.

J Urban Health 2020 10;97(5):728-738

Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, Chicago, IL, USA.

Young black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) and young black transgender women (TGW) have experienced a stark disparity in HIV prevention and care. Resilience, collective resources to adapt stressors or adversities, may improve HIV prevention and care outcomes. The present study investigated the association of resilience-based factors with PrEP uptake and viral suppression from a socioecological perspective among YBMSM and young black TGW. Data were from the baseline cycle of the Neighborhoods and Networks (N2) Study, an ongoing cohort study of 16-34-year-old YBMSM and young black TGW in Chicago (n = 324). Confidant network-level and neighborhood affiliation variables were created to measure the social-environmental context of resilience. All analyses were stratified by participants' HIV status (184 HIV-negative participants and 140 HIV-positive participants). Among HIV-negative participants, having a parental figure within an individual's confidant network was significantly associated with a greater likelihood of PrEP use. Among HIV-positive participants, confidant network members' awareness of an individual's HIV status was associated with viral suppression. Social support resources from confidant networks could improve HIV prevention and care engagement among YBMSM and young black TGW. Understanding the social and environmental contexts of resilience resource is critical for HIV prevention and care engagement.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11524-020-00425-xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7560645PMC
October 2020

Gender Dysphoria, Mental Health, and Poor Sleep Health Among Transgender and Gender Nonbinary Individuals: A Qualitative Study in New York City.

Transgend Health 2020 Mar 16;5(1):59-68. Epub 2020 Mar 16.

NYU Spatial Epidemiology Lab, Department of Population Health, NYU School of Medicine, New York, New York.

A vast amount of research has demonstrated the numerous adverse health risks of short sleep duration and poor sleep health among the general population, and increasing studies have been conducted among lesbian, gay, and bisexual individuals. However, although poor sleep health is disproportionately experienced by sexual and gender minority populations, little research has examined sleep quality and associated factors among transgender and gender nonbinary (TGNB) individuals. This study qualitatively explored the relationship that factors such as gender identity, mental health, and substance use have with sleep health among a sample of TGNB individuals in New York City. Forty in-depth interviews were conducted among an ethnically diverse sample who identified as transgender male, transgender female, and gender nonbinary from July to August 2017. All interviews were transcribed, coded, and thematically analyzed for domains affecting overall sleep, including mental health, gender identity, and various coping mechanisms to improve overall sleep. TGNB interview participants frequently described one or more problems with sleeping. Some (15%) participants suggested that mental health issues caused them to have difficulty falling asleep, but that psychiatric medication was effective in reducing mental health issues and allowing them to sleep. An even larger number (35%) told us that their gender identity negatively impacted their sleep. Specifically, participants described that the presence of breasts, breast binding, stress and anxiety about their identity, and concerns about hormonal therapy and gender-affirming surgery were all reported as contributing to sleep problems. Given these sleep challenges, it is not surprising that most (60%) participants used various strategies to cope with and manage their sleep problems, including prescription and over-the-counter sleep medications (33%) and marijuana (18%). Our findings document that sleep health is frequently an issue for TGNB individuals, and they also offer insight into the various ways that TGNB individuals attempt to cope with these sleep problems. Sleep health promotion interventions should be developed for TGNB people, which would promote positive mental health, reduce the risk of pharmaceutical adverse events, and help alleviate psychosocial stress in this target population.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1089/trgh.2019.0007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7173693PMC
March 2020

Longitudinal cohort of HIV-negative transgender women of colour in New York City: protocol for the TURNNT ('Trying to Understand Relationships, Networks and Neighbourhoods among Transgender women of colour') study.

BMJ Open 2020 04 1;10(4):e032876. Epub 2020 Apr 1.

Department of Epidemiology, Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, New York, New York, USA

Introduction: In the USA, transgender women are among the most vulnerable to HIV. In particular, transgender women of colour face high rates of infection and low uptake of important HIV prevention tools, including pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP). This paper describes the design, sampling methods, data collection and analyses of the TURNNT ('Trying to Understand Relationships, Networks and Neighbourhoods among Transgender women of colour') study. In collaboration with communities of transgender women of colour, TURNNT aims to explore the complex social and environmental (ie, neighbourhood) structures that affect HIV prevention and other aspects of health in order to identify avenues for intervention.

Methods And Analyses: TURNNT is a prospective cohort study, which will recruit 300 transgender women of colour (150 Black/African American, 100 Latina and 50 Asian/Pacific Islander participants) in New York City. There will be three waves of data collection separated by 6 months. At each wave, participants will provide information on their relationships, social and sexual networks, and neighbourhoods. Global position system technology will be used to generate individual daily path areas in order to estimate neighbourhood-level exposures. Multivariate analyses will be conducted to assess cross-sectional and longitudinal, independent and synergistic associations of personal relationships (notably individual social capital), social and sexual networks, and neighbourhood factors (notably neighbourhood-level social cohesion) with PrEP uptake and discontinuation.

Ethics And Dissemination: The TURNNT protocol was approved by the Columbia University Institutional Review Board (reference no. AAAS8164). This study will provide novel insights into the relationship, network and neighbourhood factors that influence HIV prevention behaviours among transgender women of colour and facilitate exploration of this population's health and well-being more broadly. Through community-based dissemination events and consultation with policy makers, this foundational work will be used to guide the development and implementation of future interventions with and for transgender women of colour.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/bmjopen-2019-032876DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7170618PMC
April 2020

Racial Discrimination, Sexual Partner Race/Ethnicity, and Depressive Symptoms Among Black Sexual Minority Men.

Arch Sex Behav 2020 07 28;49(5):1799-1809. Epub 2020 Mar 28.

Columbia Mailman School of Public Health, New York, NY, USA.

Although racial sexual exclusivity among Black gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority men (SMM) is frequently framed as a cause of HIV inequities, little research has examined how these sexual relationships may be driven by and protective against racism. This study examined associations between general racial discrimination, Black sexual exclusivity, sexual racial discrimination, and depressive symptoms among Black SMM. We conducted analyses on cross-sectional self-report data from 312 cisgender Black SMM in the U.S. Deep South who participated in the MARI study. Measures included general racial and sexual identity discrimination, race/ethnicity of sexual partners, sexual racial discrimination, and depressive symptoms. We estimated a moderated-mediation model with associations from discrimination to Black sexual exclusivity, moderated by discrimination target, from Black sexual exclusivity to sexual racial discrimination, and from sexual racial discrimination to depressive symptoms. We tested an indirect effect from racial discrimination to depressive symptoms to examine whether Black sexual exclusivity functioned as an intervening variable in the associations between racial discrimination and depressive symptoms. Results indicated that participants who experienced racial discrimination were more likely to exclusively have sex with Black men. Men with higher Black sexual exclusivity were less likely to experience sexual racial discrimination and, in turn, reported lower depressive symptoms. The indirect pathway from racial discrimination to depressive symptoms through Black sexual exclusivity and sexual racial discrimination was significant. Our results suggest that one of the drivers of sexual exclusivity among Black SMM may be that it helps to protect against the caustic psychological effects of racial discrimination.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01647-5DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7340340PMC
July 2020

Perceptions of sexually transmissible infection pre-exposure prophylaxis: a qualitative study of high-risk gay and bisexual men in Sydney, New South Wales.

Sex Health 2020 Apr;17(2):129-134

The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia; and Corresponding author. Email:

Background Novel sexually transmissible infection (STI) prevention strategies are needed to combat increasing bacterial STI incidences alongside decreasing condom use among gay and bisexual men (GBM) in Australia. Sexually transmissible infection pre-exposure prophylaxis (STI-PrEP) using regular doxycycline is one such strategy that is the subject of ongoing research. However, a lack of qualitative data regarding the conceptualisation, perceived risks, perceived benefits and preferred dosing strategies of STI-PrEP may impede future research and implementation efforts.

Methods: Semistructured in-depth interviews were conducted with 13 high-risk GBM residing in Sydney, Australia. Interviews were audio recorded, transcribed verbatim and then analysed thematically.

Results: STI-PrEP was largely conceptualised using pre-existing knowledge of HIV-PrEP. The perceived benefits, including a reduced incidence of STIs, destigmatisation and a 'peace of mind', often outweighed the perceived risks, including side effects, antibiotic resistance and stigmatisation of consumers. A daily dosing regimen was preferred unanimously by participants when compared with event-driven or episodic strategies.

Conclusions: Participants of this study were cautiously optimistic regarding the concept of STI-PrEP. The findings suggest that, in addition to examining the effectiveness of STI-PrEP, future implementation studies should also focus on concerns regarding side effects and monitoring antibiotic resistance, as well as considering the acceptability and potential for stigmatisation of STI-PrEP consumers.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH19175DOI Listing
April 2020

Intersectional analysis of life stress, incarceration and sexual health risk practices among cisgender Black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men in the Deep South of the US: the MARI Study.

Sex Health 2020 02;17(1):38-44

Center for Research, Evaluation and Environmental and Policy Change, My Brother's Keeper Inc., Jackson, MS 39211, USA; and Us Helping Us, People Into Living, Washington, DC 20010, USA.

Objectives The purpose of the present study was to examine associations between life stress and incarceration history in relation to sexual health risk practices among a sample of cisgender Black gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (MSM) in the Deep South.

Methods: Using data from a sample of 355 cisgender Black MSM in Mississippi and Georgia, multivariable logistic regression analyses were conducted to examine associations between life stress and sexual risk practices. In addition, we assessed whether stress may interact with experiences of incarceration to influence sexual health risk practices.

Results: After controlling for sociodemographic characteristics, stress was associated with some sexual risk practices (e.g. alcohol and drug use during sex and group sex). Further, when an interaction with incarceration was assessed, among participants who had been incarcerated, high compared with low levels of stress were associated with alcohol use during sex (adjusted odds ratio (aOR) 4.59, 95% confidence interval (CI) 2.11-9.99, P < 0.001), drug use during sex (aOR 3.92, 95% CI 1.79-8.60, P < 0.001), condomless sex with casual partners (aOR 2.83, 95% CI 1.31-6.12, P < 0.001), having six or more casual partners (aOR 2.77, 95% CI 1.09-7.06, P = 0.02) and participating in group sex (aOR 5.67, 95% CI 2.07-15.51, P < 0.001). Stress and incarceration produced a dose-response effect for each association; similar associations with stress were not observed among men who had not been incarcerated.

Conclusions: Among people with experiences of incarceration, there are several possible ways our findings could be applied practically, including through safer sex and stress management interventions designed specifically for Black MSM following their release.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH19062DOI Listing
February 2020

Associations Between Neighborhood Problems and Sexual Behaviors Among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men in the Deep South: The MARI Study.

Arch Sex Behav 2020 01 16;49(1):185-193. Epub 2020 Jan 16.

Center for Research, Evaluation and Environmental and Policy Change, My Brother's Keeper, Inc, Jackson, MS, USA.

There is a disproportionately high HIV incidence among Black men who have sex with men (MSM) despite equal or lower levels of HIV risk behaviors compared to White MSM. Due to high levels of racial segregation in the U.S., Black MSM have an elevated likelihood of living in neighborhoods that contain psychosocial stressors, which, in turn, may increase behaviors promoting HIV infection. We examined associations between perceived neighborhood problems and sexual behaviors among Black MSM in the Deep South, a population at highest risk of HIV. Data came from the MARI Study, which included Black MSM ages 18-66 years recruited from the Jackson, MS, and Atlanta, GA, metropolitan areas (n = 377). Participants completed questions about neighborhood problems (e.g., excessive noise, heavy traffic/speeding cars and trash/litter) and sexual behaviors (e.g., condomless sex and drug use before or during sex). We used Poisson's regression model with robust standard errors to estimate the adjusted prevalence ratio (aPR; 95% confidence intervals [CI]) of neighborhood problems (coded as tertiles [tertile 1 = low neighborhood problems, tertile 2 = medium neighborhood problems, tertile 3 = high neighborhood problems] as well as continuously) with sexual behaviors, after adjustment for sociodemographic characteristics and other variables. About one-fourth of the sample reported at least one neighborhood problem, with the most common (31.6%) being no/poorly maintained sidewalks, which indicates an infrastructural problem. In multivariable models, compared to those in the lowest tertile, those reporting more neighborhood problems (tertile 2: aPR = 1.49, 95% CI = 1.04, 2.14 and tertile 3: aPR = 1.53, 95% CI = 1.05, 2.24) reported more drug use before or during sex (p for trend = .027). Neighborhood problems may promote behaviors (e.g., drug use before or during sex) conducive to HIV infection. Structural interventions could improve community infrastructure to reduce neighborhood problems (e.g., no/poorly maintained sidewalks and litter). These interventions may help to reduce HIV incidence among Black MSM in the Deep South.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10508-019-01619-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7410008PMC
January 2020

Two Distinct Gonorrhea Trends and Risk Factors Among Women in Australia.

Sex Transm Dis 2020 01;47(1):34-40

From the The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, Australia.

Background: In recent years, gonorrhea notifications have increased in women in Australia and other countries. We measured trends over time and risk factors among Australian Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander ("Aboriginal") and non-Aboriginal women.

Methods: We conducted a cross-sectional analysis of data from 41 sexual health clinics. Gonorrhea positivity at each patient's first visit (first-test positivity) during the period 2009 to 2016 was calculated. Univariate and multivariate analyses assessed risk factors for first-test positivity in Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women.

Results: Gonorrhea positivity decreased among Aboriginal women (7.1% in 2009 to 5.2% in 2016, P < 0.001) and increased among non-Aboriginal women (0.6%-2.9%, P < 0.001). Among Aboriginal women, first-test positivity was independently associated with living in a regional or remote area (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 4.29; 95% confidence interval [CI], 2.52-7.31; P < 0.01) and chlamydia infection (aOR, 4.20; 95% CI,3.22-5.47; P < 0.01). Among non-Aboriginal women, first-test positivity was independently associated with greater socioeconomic disadvantage (second quartile: aOR, 1.68 [95% CI, 1.31-2.16; P < 0.01]; third quartile: aOR, 1.54 [95% CI, 1.25-1.89; P < 0.01]) compared with least disadvantaged quartile: recent sex work (aOR, 1.69; 95% CI, 1.37-2.08; P < 0.01), recent injecting drug use (aOR, 1.85; 95% CI, 1.34-2.57; P < 0.01), and chlamydia infection (aOR, 2.35; 95% CI, 1.90-2.91; P < 0.01). For non-Aboriginal women, being aged 16 to 19 years (aOR, 0.62; 95% CI, 0.49-0.80; P < 0.01) compared with those ≥30 years was a protective factor.

Conclusions: These findings highlight 2 different epidemics and risk factors for Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal women, which can inform appropriate health promotion and clinical strategies.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1097/OLQ.0000000000001086DOI Listing
January 2020

Increases in pharyngeal positivity in men who have sex with men, 2011-2015: observational study.

Sex Transm Infect 2020 09 17;96(6):432-435. Epub 2019 Oct 17.

RPA Sexual Health, Sydney Local Health District, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia.

Objectives: Pharyngeal gonorrhoea disproportionately affects men who have sex with men (MSM). We explored temporal trends in pharyngeal gonorrhoea positivity among MSM compared with anorectal and urogenital positivity.

Methods: Data (2011-2015) were extracted from 41 publicly funded sexual health clinics participating in a national surveillance network. Positivity was defined as the proportion of first-visit testing occasions where gonorrhoea was detected. Logistic regression explored trends in positivity and correlates of positive pharyngeal tests.

Results: From 2011 to 2015, 24 792 MSM tested (16 710 pharyngeal, 19 810 urogenital and 15 974 anorectal first-visit tests). Pharyngeal positivity increased by 183% from 139/3509 (4.0%) in 2011 to 397/3509 (11.3%) in 2015, p-trend <0.001; urogenital positivity by 39% from 257/4615 (5.6%) to 295/3783 (7.8%), p-trend=0.006; and anorectal positivity by 87% from 160/3469 (4.6%) to 286/3334 (8.6%), p-trend <0.001. The annual temporal increase in positivity was greater in the pharynx (OR 1.33; 95% CI 1.27 to 1.38) than at urogenital (OR 1.06; 95% CI 1.02 to 1.10) and anorectal (OR 1.16; 95% CI 1.11 to 1.21) sites. Factors independently associated with pharyngeal gonorrhoea were: younger age (p<0.001), higher numbers of recent sexual partners (p-trend=0.004), contact with a person with a diagnosed STI (p<0.001), injecting drug use (p<0.001), anogenital symptoms (p<0.001) and HIV-positive status (p=0.050).

Conclusion: Temporal increases in gonorrhoea positivity occurred at all anatomical sites, with the greatest increase in the pharynx. Risk factors could be used to help to develop testing and prevention strategies among MSM at highest risk. Strengthening sexual health service delivery, testing and surveillance remain priorities for pharyngeal gonorrhoea control.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2019-054107DOI Listing
September 2020

Differential Risk for Drug Use by Sexual Minority Status among Electronic Dance Music Party Attendees in New York City.

Subst Use Misuse 2020 17;55(2):230-240. Epub 2019 Sep 17.

Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York, USA.

Drug use among electronic dance music (EDM) party attendees is common; however, studies are needed to examine associations between drug use and sexual orientation as this can inform prevention and harm reduction efforts in the lesbian, gay, and bisexual (LGB) community. Data were examined from a repeated cross-sectional study of 3066 young adult EDM party attendees surveyed entering nightclubs and dance festivals in New York City between 2016 and 2018. Of these participants, 277 identified as gay/lesbian, 293 identified as bisexual, and 83 identified as other sexuality. We examined how sexual orientation relates to past-year use of various 'traditional' drugs (e.g., ecstasy/MDMA/Molly) and new psychoactive substances (NPS; e.g., "bath salts") in a bivariable and multivariable manner, stratified by sex. Compared to heterosexual males, gay males were at higher odds for use of ecstasy, GHB, and methamphetamine; bisexual males were at higher odds for use of LSD and unknown powders, and males identifying as "other" sexuality were at higher odds for use of mushrooms and 2C drugs. Compared to heterosexual females, lesbians were at higher odds for use of mushrooms and GHB; bisexual females were at higher odds for use of cocaine, LSD, mushrooms, and tryptamines, and females identifying as "other" sexuality were at higher odds for use of cocaine and tryptamines. We determined differential risk of use of different drugs among those who attend EDM parties according to sexual orientation. Findings can be used to tailor prevention messaging to specific groups within the LGB community.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10826084.2019.1662811DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6980202PMC
October 2020

Sexually transmissible infections among transgender men and women attending Australian sexual health clinics.

Med J Aust 2019 11 29;211(9):406-411. Epub 2019 Aug 29.

Kirby Institute, University of New South Wales, Sydney, NSW.

Objectives: To estimate rates of HIV infection, chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and infectious syphilis in transgender men and women in Australia; to compare these rates with those for cisgender people.

Design: Cross-sectional, comparative analysis of de-identified health data.

Setting, Participants: We analysed data for 1260 transgender people (404 men, 492 women, 364 unrecorded gender), 78 108 cisgender gay and bisexual men, and 309 740 cisgender heterosexual people who attended 46 sexual health clinics across Australia during 2010-2017.

Main Outcome Measures: First-visit test positivity for sexually transmitted infections (STIs), stratified by patient group and year; demographic and behavioural factors associated with having STIs.

Results: 14 of 233 transgender men (6.0%) and 34 of 326 transgender women (10%) tested during first clinic visits were chlamydia-positive; nine transgender men (4%) and 28 transgender women (8.6%) were gonorrhoea-positive. One of 210 tested transgender men (0.5%) and ten of 324 tested transgender women (3.1%) were diagnosed with infectious syphilis; 14 transgender men (3.5%) and 28 transgender women (5.7%) were HIV-positive at their first visit. The only significant change in prevalence of an STI among transgender patients during the study period was the increased rate of gonorrhoea among transgender women (from 3.1% to 9.8%). Compared with cisgender gay and bisexual men, transgender men were less likely (adjusted odds ratio [aOR], 0.46; 95% CI, 0.29-0.71; P = 0.001) and transgender women as likely (aOR, 0.98; 95% CI, 0.73-1.32; P = 0.92) to be diagnosed with a bacterial STI; compared with heterosexual patients, transgender men were as likely (aOR, 0.72; 95% CI, 0.46-1.13; P = 0.16) and transgender women more likely (aOR, 1.56; 95% CI, 1.16-2.10; P = 0.003) to receive a first-visit bacterial STI diagnosis.

Conclusions: The epidemiology of STIs in transgender people attending Australian sexual health clinics differs from that of cisgender patients. Gender details must be captured by health data systems to facilitate appropriate delivery of sexual health care.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50322DOI Listing
November 2019

Pathology Laboratory Surveillance in the Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance of Sexually Transmitted Infections and Blood-Borne Viruses: Protocol for a Cohort Study.

JMIR Res Protoc 2019 Aug 8;8(8):e13625. Epub 2019 Aug 8.

Burnet Institute, Melbourne, Australia.

Background: Passive surveillance is the principal method of sexually transmitted infection (STI) and blood-borne virus (BBV) surveillance in Australia whereby positive cases of select STIs and BBVs are notified to the state and territory health departments. A major limitation of passive surveillance is that it only collects information on positive cases and notifications are heavily dependent on testing patterns. Denominator testing data are important in the interpretation of notifications.

Objective: The aim of this study is to establish a national pathology laboratory surveillance system, part of a larger national sentinel surveillance system called ACCESS (the Australian Collaboration for Coordinated Enhanced Sentinel Surveillance). ACCESS is designed to utilize denominator testing data to understand trends in case reporting and monitor the uptake and outcomes of testing for STIs and BBVs.

Methods: ACCESS involves a range of clinical sites and pathology laboratories, each with a separate method of recruitment, data extraction, and data processing. This paper includes pathology laboratory sites only. First established in 2007 for chlamydia only, ACCESS expanded in 2012 to capture all diagnostic and clinical monitoring tests for STIs and BBVs, initially from pathology laboratories in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia, to at least one public and one private pathology laboratory in all Australian states and territories in 2016. The pathology laboratory sentinel surveillance system incorporates a longitudinal cohort design whereby all diagnostic and clinical monitoring tests for STIs and BBVs are collated from participating pathology laboratories in a line-listed format. An anonymous, unique identifier will be created to link patient data within and between participating pathology laboratory databases and to clinical services databases. Using electronically extracted, line-listed data, several indicators for each STI and BBV can be calculated, including the number of tests, unique number of individuals tested and retested, test yield, positivity, and incidence.

Results: To date, over 20 million STI and BBV laboratory test records have been extracted for analysis for surveillance monitoring nationally. Recruitment of laboratories is ongoing to ensure appropriate coverage for each state and territory; reporting of indicators will occur in 2019 with publication to follow.

Conclusions: The ACCESS pathology laboratory sentinel surveillance network is a unique surveillance system that collects data on diagnostic testing, management, and care for and of STIs and BBVs. It complements the ACCESS clinical network and enhances Australia's capacity to respond to STIs and BBVs.

International Registered Report Identifier (irrid): DERR1-10.2196/13625.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.2196/13625DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6786847PMC
August 2019

How Male Sex Workers and Their Clients Shifted from Reluctance About HIV Pre-exposure Prophylaxis to Advocating for Its Use: A Longitudinal Mixed Methods Study.

AIDS Behav 2020 Mar;24(3):782-790

Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Level 6, Wallace Wurth Building, UNSW, High Street, Kensington, NSW, 2052, Australia.

We assessed individual and collective responses to HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis ('PrEP') among a network of male sex workers and clients. From 2011 to May 2017, keyword searches on an online discussion forum identified 668 posts that referenced PrEP. We conducted four analyses: (i) discourse analysis identifying reactions to PrEP, (ii) thematic analysis constructing rhetorical strategies, (iii) content analysis comparing discursive positions and rhetorical strategies, and (iv) longitudinal analyses assessing trends over time. Forum posts adopted one of three discursive positions (reluctance, interest, advocacy), drawing upon four non-exclusive strategies (deference to experts and evidence, acknowledging personal and shared experiences, establishing philosophical arguments, engaging in speculation). Posts from sex workers were more likely than clients to be supportive of PrEP (96% vs. 42%; χ = 18.46, p < 0.001) while over time this network moved from being predominantly reluctant about PrEP (61% of posts in 2012) to advocating for its use (65% of posts in 2017; Z = 5.01, p < 0.001).
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02618-1DOI Listing
March 2020

Location of Pre-exposure Prophylaxis Services Across New York City Neighborhoods: Do Neighborhood Socio-demographic Characteristics and HIV Incidence Matter?

AIDS Behav 2019 Oct;23(10):2795-2802

Department of Population Health, School of Medicine, New York University, 180 Madison Ave, 3rd Floor, New York, NY, 10016, USA.

Despite an increasing pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use among populations at highest risk of HIV acquisition, comprehensive and easy access to PrEP is limited among racial/ethnic minorities and low-income populations. The present study analyzed the geographic distribution of PrEP providers and the relationship between their location, neighborhood characteristics, and HIV incidence using spatial analytic methods. PrEP provider density, socio-demographics, healthcare availability, and HIV incidence data were collected by ZIP-code tabulation area in New York City (NYC). Neighborhood socio-demographic measures of race/ethnicity, income, insurance coverage, or same-sex couple household, were not associated with PrEP provider density, after adjusting for spatial autocorrelation, and PrEP providers were located in high HIV incidence neighborhoods (P < 0.01). These findings validate the need for ongoing policy interventions (e.g. public health detailing) vis-à-vis PrEP provider locations in NYC and inform the design of future PrEP implementation strategies, such as public health campaigns and navigation assistance for low-cost insurance.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10461-019-02609-2DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6790167PMC
October 2019

Population-level diagnosis and care cascade for chlamydia in Australia.

Sex Transm Infect 2020 03 5;96(2):131-136. Epub 2019 Jun 5.

The Kirby Institute, Faculty of Medicine, UNSW Sydney, Kensington, New South Wales, Australia.

Objectives: Key strategies to control chlamydia include testing, treatment, partner management and re-testing. We developed a diagnosis and care cascade for chlamydia to highlight gaps in control strategies nationally and to inform efforts to optimise control programmes.

Methods: The Australian Chlamydia Cascade was organised into four steps: (1) annual number of new chlamydia infections (including re-infections); (2) annual number of chlamydia diagnoses; (3) annual number of diagnoses treated; (4) annual number of diagnoses followed by a re-test for chlamydia within 42-180 days of diagnosis. For 2016, we estimated the number of infections among young men and women aged 15-29 years in each of these steps using a combination of mathematical modelling, national notification data, sentinel surveillance data and previous research studies.

Results: Among young people in Australia, there were an estimated 248 580 (range, 240 690-256 470) new chlamydia infections in 2016 (96 470 in women; 152 100 in men) of which 70 164 were diagnosed (28.2% overall: women 43.4%, men 18.6%). Of the chlamydia infections diagnosed, 65 490 (range, 59 640-70 160) were treated (93.3% across all populations), but only 11 330 (range, 7660-16 285) diagnoses were followed by a re-test within 42-180 days (17.3% overall: women 20.6%, men 12.5%) of diagnosis.

Conclusions: The greatest gaps in the Australian Chlamydia Cascade for young people were in the diagnosis and re-testing steps, with 72% of infections undiagnosed and 83% of those diagnosed not re-tested: both were especially low among men. Treatment rates were also lower than recommended by guidelines. Our cascade highlights the need for enhanced strategies to improve treatment and re-testing coverage such as short message service reminders, point-of-care and postal test kits.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1136/sextrans-2018-053801DOI Listing
March 2020

The Social Context of HIV Prevention and Care among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men in Three U.S. Cities: The Neighborhoods and Networks (N2) Cohort Study.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019 05 30;16(11). Epub 2019 May 30.

Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

In many parts of the world, stark racial disparities in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence, incidence, prevention, and care outcomes persist among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), with Black MSM significantly impacted in the United States (U.S.). Individual-level characteristics, including sexual behaviors and socioeconomic status, do not fully account for racial/ethnic disparities in HIV among MSM. We hypothesize that neighborhood contexts and network characteristics influence risk for HIV infection as well as HIV-related prevention and care behaviors. As such, the study design includes the use of real-time geospatial methods and in-depth assessments of multiple network typologies to investigate the impact of neighborhood and network-level factors on HIV prevention and treatment among Black MSM residing in longstanding priority HIV elimination areas in the U.S., namely Chicago, Illinois and in the Deep South (Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana) ( = 450, = 50, and = 100, respectively). We describe the design, sampling methods, data collection, data management methods, and preliminary findings of the ongoing 'Neighborhoods and Networks (N2) Cohort Study'. N2 employs a prospective longitudinal design. The sample includes Black MSM participants in Chicago recruited via respondent-driven sampling and assessed every six months over two years of follow-up. Participants enrolled in Jackson and New Orleans are being recruited through existing health and community services and assessed every six months over one year of follow-up. Mobility within and between neighborhoods is being assessed using global positioning system (GPS) technology. Social and sexual networks among Black MSM are being studied through egocentric network inventories as well as newer methods of creating meso-level networks that involve social media (Facebook) and mobile phone contacts. Key HIV prevention outcomes such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) care engagement, and HIV/STI (sexually transmitted infections) biomarkers will be examined at baseline and follow-up. As of 31 December 2018, a total of 361 men were enrolled across all study sites: 259 in Chicago and 102 in the Deep South (75 in New Orleans and 27 in Jackson). At baseline, participants ranged in age from 17 to 65 years old (mean = 34.3, standard deviation = 5.1) with 123 men (34.1%) self-reported as HIV positive. While HIV treatment levels were similar between sites, men in the Deep South reported higher rates of adherence than men in Chicago (63.3% versus 49.4%, = 0.03). Sexual risk profiles were mainly the same between men from different study sites, with 22.9% of men in Chicago and 28.9% in the Deep South reporting consistent condom use during vaginal and anal sex ( = 0.26). Regarding their home neighborhoods, men in the Deep South were more likely than those in Chicago to characterize theirs as having a good reputation (43.1% versus 24.7%, < 0.001) and as being safe (37.3% versus 21.2%, = 0.002). The focus on Black MSM in the N2 Study will allow for a nuanced exploration of the attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and practices of a diverse group of Black MSM. The study is also positioned to provide novel insight about neighborhood and network characteristics that influence HIV-related behaviors. A health equity framework ensures that Black MSM are not explicitly or implicitly deemed as deviant, disordered, or the non-reference group. Findings from N2 will provide guidance for the implementation of more impactful HIV prevention interventions that engage a diverse population of Black MSM as we work toward HIV elimination in the U.S.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16111922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603520PMC
May 2019

The Social Context of HIV Prevention and Care among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men in Three U.S. Cities: The Neighborhoods and Networks (N2) Cohort Study.

Int J Environ Res Public Health 2019 05 30;16(11). Epub 2019 May 30.

Chicago Center for HIV Elimination, University of Chicago, Chicago, IL 60637, USA.

In many parts of the world, stark racial disparities in human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) prevalence, incidence, prevention, and care outcomes persist among gay, bisexual, and other men who have sex with men (MSM), with Black MSM significantly impacted in the United States (U.S.). Individual-level characteristics, including sexual behaviors and socioeconomic status, do not fully account for racial/ethnic disparities in HIV among MSM. We hypothesize that neighborhood contexts and network characteristics influence risk for HIV infection as well as HIV-related prevention and care behaviors. As such, the study design includes the use of real-time geospatial methods and in-depth assessments of multiple network typologies to investigate the impact of neighborhood and network-level factors on HIV prevention and treatment among Black MSM residing in longstanding priority HIV elimination areas in the U.S., namely Chicago, Illinois and in the Deep South (Jackson, Mississippi and New Orleans, Louisiana) ( = 450, = 50, and = 100, respectively). We describe the design, sampling methods, data collection, data management methods, and preliminary findings of the ongoing 'Neighborhoods and Networks (N2) Cohort Study'. N2 employs a prospective longitudinal design. The sample includes Black MSM participants in Chicago recruited via respondent-driven sampling and assessed every six months over two years of follow-up. Participants enrolled in Jackson and New Orleans are being recruited through existing health and community services and assessed every six months over one year of follow-up. Mobility within and between neighborhoods is being assessed using global positioning system (GPS) technology. Social and sexual networks among Black MSM are being studied through egocentric network inventories as well as newer methods of creating meso-level networks that involve social media (Facebook) and mobile phone contacts. Key HIV prevention outcomes such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) care engagement, and HIV/STI (sexually transmitted infections) biomarkers will be examined at baseline and follow-up. As of 31 December 2018, a total of 361 men were enrolled across all study sites: 259 in Chicago and 102 in the Deep South (75 in New Orleans and 27 in Jackson). At baseline, participants ranged in age from 17 to 65 years old (mean = 34.3, standard deviation = 5.1) with 123 men (34.1%) self-reported as HIV positive. While HIV treatment levels were similar between sites, men in the Deep South reported higher rates of adherence than men in Chicago (63.3% versus 49.4%, = 0.03). Sexual risk profiles were mainly the same between men from different study sites, with 22.9% of men in Chicago and 28.9% in the Deep South reporting consistent condom use during vaginal and anal sex ( = 0.26). Regarding their home neighborhoods, men in the Deep South were more likely than those in Chicago to characterize theirs as having a good reputation (43.1% versus 24.7%, < 0.001) and as being safe (37.3% versus 21.2%, = 0.002). The focus on Black MSM in the N2 Study will allow for a nuanced exploration of the attitudes, beliefs, behaviors, and practices of a diverse group of Black MSM. The study is also positioned to provide novel insight about neighborhood and network characteristics that influence HIV-related behaviors. A health equity framework ensures that Black MSM are not explicitly or implicitly deemed as deviant, disordered, or the non-reference group. Findings from N2 will provide guidance for the implementation of more impactful HIV prevention interventions that engage a diverse population of Black MSM as we work toward HIV elimination in the U.S.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/ijerph16111922DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6603520PMC
May 2019

Rapid HIV testing increases testing frequency among gay and bisexual men: a controlled before-after study.

Sex Health 2019 04;16(2):172-179

The Kirby Institute, UNSW Sydney, Sydney, NSW 2052, Australia.

Background Rapid HIV testing was introduced at 12 clinics in New South Wales (NSW) for routine testing and promoted with social marketing. The effect of the availability of rapid HIV testing on testing frequency among gay and bisexual men (GBM) was evaluated.

Methods: An observational design using patient data from 12 clinics was used. The primary outcome was the mean number of HIV tests in 12 months. The intervention group comprised GBM who had one or more rapid tests from October 2013 to September 2014 and this was compared with two control groups; a concurrent group (no rapid test in the same period) and a historical group (attended between July 2011 and June 2012). Independent sample t-tests were conducted to compare mean number of tests among men in the intervention, concurrent and historical groups. Multivariate logistic regression was used to assess the association between rapid HIV testing and testing frequency.

Results: Men in the intervention group (n = 3934) had a mean of 1.8 HIV tests in 12 months, compared with 1.4 in the concurrent group (n = 5063; P < 0.001) and 1.4 in the historical group (n = 5904; P < 0.001); testing frequency was higher among men at increased risk of HIV in the intervention group compared with the other two groups (mean 2.2, 1.6 and 1.5 respectively; P < 0.001). Membership of the intervention group was associated with increased odds of having two or more HIV tests in 12 months (AOR = 2.5, 95%CI 2.2-2.8; P < 0.001) compared with the concurrent group, after controlling for demographic and behavioural factors.

Conclusion: Introducing and promoting rapid HIV testing in clinics in NSW was associated with increased HIV testing frequency among GBM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH18161DOI Listing
April 2019

Condomless Group Sex Is Associated With HIV Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis Knowledge and Interest Uptake: A Cross-Sectional Study of Gay and Bisexual Men in Paris, France.

AIDS Educ Prev 2019 04;31(2):127-135

Spatial Epidemiology Lab, Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, New York, New York.

As a prevention strategy, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) may benefit men who participate in group sex, but little is known about PrEP among this group internationally and virtually nothing is known of the European context. This study used an online survey of gay men living in Paris, France to assess associations between group sex and awareness of, use and interest in PrEP in its once-daily, episodic, injectable, and microbicidal forms. Men reporting recent (within 3 months) condomless group sex were much more likely to report once-daily PrEP use than men with no group sex experience (41.5% vs 7.7%, p < .001). Uptake was similarly low among men who had group sex with condoms (8.0%) and those with less-recent experience (6.43%). Overall, willingness to use PrEP-including its non-daily forms-was high among men reporting group sex, suggesting opportunities for outreach and implementation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1521/aeap.2019.31.2.127DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6557130PMC
April 2019

City of love: group sex is associated with risks for HIV and other sexually transmissible infections among gay and bisexual men in Paris, France.

Sex Health 2019 04;16(2):192-194

Department of Population Health, New York University School of Medicine, 180 Madison Avenue, New York, NY 10010, USA.

Background This study explored the relationships between participation in group sex and risk for HIV and other sexually transmissible infections (STIs).

Methods: An anonymous online survey collected data from 580 gay and bisexual men using a mobile sex and dating application in Paris, France. Logistic regression analyses were conducted, which controlled for HIV status, HIV pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) use and participants' sociodemographic characteristics.

Results: Compared with men with no recent group sex experience, those reporting group sex in the 3 months before the survey (30.7% of the sample) were more likely to have had condomless receptive anal sex at least once in the same period [adjusted odds ratio (aOR)=1.6, 95% confidence interval (CI)=1.1-2.4, P = 0.02], condomless insertive anal sex (aOR=2.0, 95%CI: 2.4-8.7, P < 0.001) and substance use before or during sex (aOR=1.6, 95%CI: 1.1-2.3, P = 0.02). Even when controlling for condom use, men involved with group sex were more likely to be have been diagnosed with a bacterial STI in the previous year (aOR=2.1, 95%CI: 1.3-3.3, P = 0.002).

Conclusions: Group sex remains a useful marker of risk among gay and bisexual men, but research is needed that moves beyond individual practice in order to assess the epidemiological networks comprising group sex and the risks they pose relevant to HIV and other STIs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1071/SH18181DOI Listing
April 2019