NEW YORK — Issues of racism, homophobia, depression and post-traumatic stress disorder all contribute to the HIV rates in young black and Latino men, a new study from the journal AIDS and Behavior has found according to a report from Futurity, a site that relays research news from around the world.
The study is part of a large research effort called Project-18, which follows 600 urban HIV-negative young men who self-identify as men who have sex with men (MSM) in New York. They’re being monitored every six months for three years as they transition from adolescence into adulthood, the site reported.
The latest published findings are that mental health, drug use and unprotected sex are often linked.
“The more burden these men face for being persons of color, economically disadvantaged, homosexual, foreign born and simply discriminated against, impact their mental health,” Perry Halkitis, director of the Center of Health, Identity, Behavior and Prevention Studies at New York University, was quoted as saying. “Our additional analysis found that foreign-born men of lower socioeconomic status demonstrates a greater likelihood of unprotected sex.”
Halkitis said mental health burdens tend to exacerbate risky behavior such as drug and alcohol abuse and unprotected sex.
Halkitis got a $2.9 million grant from the National Institute of Health’s National Institute of Drug Abuse in 2009 to begin the study. He believes psychological and mental health issues and HIV are “highly related.”