"When some individuals get tested and hear that they have a lower viral load, they might interpret that decreased risk as no risk and hence use no protection," Hoff said. "It's a calculated risk that they are taking."
Black, white and interracial couples who decided to use condoms all reported occasional, spontaneous breaks in their agreement when they had unprotected sex with each other, but their behavior after the incident differed by race. Black couples tended to discuss the situation, get tested for HIV and revert to condom use. White and interracial couples tended to continue having sex without condoms.
"We found that black and white gay men process the information they receive about HIV in different ways, and for black men using condoms is the default choice," said SF State researcher Chad Campbell. "The black gay men we surveyed were aware of the high rates of HIV among their demographic and were taking steps to ensure they don't become another statistic."
These latest findings come from San Francisco State University's "You and Me" study, led by Hoff, which explores the relationship dynamics between male partners in black, white and interracial couples.
The research will be presented in poster format at the XIX International AIDS Conference, taking place July 22 27 in Washington D.C. It will be presented by Chad Campbell, director of the "You and Me" study at San Francisco State University.
|Contact: Elaine Bible|
San Francisco State University