Gay and Bisexual Latino Men's Sexual Health and Behaviors: A National Online Sample

Article excerpt

Latino men represent a quickly growing segment of the U.S. population. As such, it is important to document the health of these individuals. Data were collected from one of the largest gay networking Web sites in the U.S. Using multivariate logistic regression relationships between participant characteristics and sexual health outcomes and behaviors were examined. The sample included 1,880 Latino men self-identifying as gay (83.7%) and bisexual (16.3%). Findings suggest the majority of men had not tested positive for any STD (86.8-92.0%) or H1V (79.9%), however overall STD testing was low (33.9%) compared to HIV testing (55.6%) during the previous year. Additionally, education level, employment, sexual orientation, and relationship status significantly influenced a variety of sexual behaviors and sexual health outcomes.

Keywords: Latino men, HIV, sexual behavior, online research, men who have sex with men (MSM)

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As the United States becomes increasingly diverse it is important to understand the complexities of race and ethnicity in relation to health outcomes and how these identities intersect with other demographic characteristics such as educational attainment, age, and location. Previous research has established that Latinos have become the largest ethnic minority in the U.S., with one out of eight individuals in the United States self-identifying as of Hispanic origin (Vidal de Haymes & Kilty, 2007; U.S. Census Bureau, 2003) Additionally, the most recent census data has shown that individuals identifying as Hispanic or Latino made up 16.3% of the US population surpassing all other racial and ethnic minority groups (U.S. Census Bureau, 2010).

Studies have examined various aspects of Latino men's sexual lives including traditional gender and sexual norm socialization in which men and women have differing experiences based upon cultural beliefs surrounding the roles of men and women within Latino culture (Raffaelli & Ontai, 2004). Most research to date has focused on understanding Latino men's sexuality through a gendered lens because of cultural beliefs surrounding manhood and sexual behavior among this group, specifically exploring aspects related to machismo, sexual risk taking and intimate partner violence (Asencio, 1999).

Fewer studies have investigated sexual behaviors among Latino gay and bisexual men, with the majority focusing on sexual position taking by Latino men based upon perceived masculinity of sexual partners (Carballo-Di6guez, Dolezal, Nieves, Diaz, Decena, & Balan, 2004). Jefferies (2007) found that Latino men, excluding Mexican men, had an increased likelihood of having engaged in anal sex compared to non-Latino men, as well as preferring the insertive role during oral sex and during anal sex. Mexican men, in the same study, were more likely than other self-identified Latino men to be the receptive partner during anal sex. Several studies around sexual role position among Latino gay and bisexual men have suggested that role segregation (i.e., insertive or receptive role during sex) is highly prevalent among this group due to cultural notions of active and passive roles (Carrier & Mangana, 1991; Munoz-Laboy, 2004) in the United States.

While these studies are an important first step into understanding Latino gay and bisexual men, more investigation into the sexual lives of this group is needed to present a clearer image of their sexual behaviors. This study sought to document Latino gay and bisexual men's sexual behaviors with other men and their associations with health outcomes.

METHOD

Participants and Procedure

Participants resided in all 50 United States with the largest percentages of men reporting their home state as Texas (n = 266, 14.1%), California (n = 211, 11.2%), Florida (n = 169, 9.0%) and New York (n = 157, 8.4%). The states with the fewest participants included: Wyoming (n = 1,0. …