Date of Award

Spring 5-12-2017

Degree Type

Capstone Project

Degree Name

Master of Public Health (MPH)


Public Health

First Advisor

Dr Richard Rothenberg, MD, MPH

Second Advisor

Dr Laura Salazar, PhD



Factors That Contribute to The Disproportionate Rates of HIV among Black Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM): A Systematic Review


Santanna Sharay Comer

May 2017

BACKGROUND: Black men who have sex with men (MSM) are becoming infected with HIV at considerable rates. Research has shown that the HIV disparity among this population is not explained by a single individual risk factor, but may be explained by factors specific to this population.


The primary purpose of this study is to conduct a systematic review of research articles with regards to factors other than individual risk factors that contribute to the HIV disparity among Black men who have sex with men (MSM) in the United States.


A literature search of the databases Pubmed, Psycinfo, and Medline was conducted to identify articles relevant to the HIV disparity among Black MSM. Keywords Black MSM, HIV, HIV infections, disclosure, sexual networks, sexual behaviors, STDs/STIs, partnership characteristics and concurrency were used to identify relevant articles. Full text articles were examined for relevance to the research question and articles that did not meet the inclusion criteria were eliminated.


Black MSM are disproportionately affected by HIV and research has shown that individual risk factors such as lack of condom use, drug use, and number of sexual partners to name a few does not explain the HIV disparity among this population. This review found evidence that the HIV disparity among Black MSM is best explained by differences in the following social and structural factors: stigma and internalized homophobia; prevalence of sexually transmitted diseases (STD’s); sexual networks; partnership characteristics; disclosure; socioeconomic factors; lack of access to preventive services and treatment, and bisexuality.

CONCLUSION: Rates of HIV infection among Black MSM remains of great concern. There is a critical need for the development and implementation of innovative evidence-based interventions that are culturally tailored to this population.