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Association of CAI Vulnerability and Sexual Minority Victimization Distress Among Adolescent Men Who Have Sex With Men

Bragard E, Macapagal K, Mustanski B, Fisher CB

Psychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity

Adolescent men who have sex with men (AMSM) are at high HIV risk. Condomless anal intercourse (CAI) increases HIV risk and has been associated with interpersonal power imbalances, such as asymmetries in decision-making authority, social status, and emotional dependence, between male sexual partners. AMSM experience high levels of psychological and physical victimization due to their sexual minority status. Sexual minority victimization (SMV) is similarly associated with low interpersonal power and may relate to the extent to which AMSM are vulnerable to partner influences to engage in CAI. This online survey study of AMSM 14-17 years (N = 143) tested the hypothesis that experiences and attitudes reflecting vulnerability to partner CAI influence (CAI Vulnerability) and distress in response to experienced sexual minority victimization (SMV Distress) would be positively associated with participant and partner condom non-use during anal sex (CAI frequency). Approximately 35% reported they or their partner(s) had never or rarely used a condom. Positive correlations were found among partners' CAI frequency during sex with the participant, CAI Vulnerability, and SMV Distress. Multiple regression indicated CAI Vulnerability significantly accounted for the relation between SMV Distress and partner's CAI frequency. Findings suggest that distress in response to SMV may be associated with a diminished sense of interpersonal control resulting in CAI Vulnerability and subsequent more frequent instances of partner CAI. HIV prevention strategies designed to increase condom use among AMSM have the potential to benefit from procedures aimed at increasing interpersonal sexual assertiveness and decreasing distress associated with sexual minority victimization.

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