TitleThe limitations of 'Black MSM' as a category: Why gender, sexuality, and desire still matter for social and biomedical HIV prevention methods.
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsGarcia, J, Parker, RG, Parker, C, Wilson, PA, Philbin, M, Hirsch, JS
JournalGlob Public Health
Date Published2016 Aug-Sep

The USA faces disproportionate and increasing HIV incidence rates among Black men who have sex with men (BMSM). New biomedical technologies such as pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) have been developed to address their HIV risk. Very little consideration, however, has been given to the diversity obscured by 'BMSM' as a category, to how this diversity relates to men's sexual partnering strategies, or to the relevance of these issues for new HIV prevention methods. We conducted a community-based ethnography from June 2013 to May 2014 documenting factors that affect the acceptance of and adherence to PrEP among BMSM. We conducted in-depth interviews with 31 BMSM and 17 community stakeholders, and participant observation. To demonstrate the diversity of social identities, we present a taxonomy of indigenous categories organised along the axes of sexual identity, sexual positioning, and gender performance. We analyse how HIV prevention strategies, such as PrEP, may be more effective if programmes consider how gender, sexuality, and sexual desire shape sexual partnering strategies. This article underlines the importance of attending to the diversity of sexual and social subjectivities among BMSM, of bringing the study of sexuality back into HIV prevention, and of integrating biomedical prevention approaches into community-based programmes.

Alternate JournalGlob Public Health
PubMed ID26831639
PubMed Central IDPMC4931953
Grant ListL60 MD009069 / MD / NIMHD NIH HHS / United States
P30 MH043520 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R24 HD041022 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
T32 MH019139 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
R01 MH098723 / MH / NIMH NIH HHS / United States
P2C HD058486 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States
P2C HD041022 / HD / NICHD NIH HHS / United States