PITTSBURGH — The University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health announced this week that it was awarded a $3.2 million grant to study the reasons why black gay men are disproportionately affected by HIV and AIDS, Pittsburgh City Paper reports.
“Where could all this virus be coming from, if black gay men are in fact more conservative in terms of sex and less likely to shoot drugs?” Ron Stall, director of the Center for LGBT Health Research at Pitt and principal investigator on the project, told City Paper. “If you can’t answer that basic question you can’t do HIV prevention among black gay men.”
According to the CDC, young African American gay and bisexual men accounted for the highest number of new HIV infections among all gay and bisexual men in 2010. Black gay and bisexual men ages 13-24 also accounted for twice as many new infections as their white or Latino/Hispanic peers in that year, the Pittsburgh City Paper article said.
The project, a collaboration with the Center for Black Equity, will survey 6,000 black men who have sex with men — the largest sample of this subgroup ever studied — to try and figure out why they are less likely to get tested for HIV, or seek medical treatment even if their HIV status is known. Participants will give their feedback anonymously and will be recruited at black gay pride events across the country. They’ll also be asked to answer questions about their mental health, substance use and violence victimization and other health issues to understand negative health outcomes associated with the subgroup, but also possible areas of resilience, the City Paper reports.