The Effects of Income Disparity Among Populations Vulnerable to HIV

Structural factors impact access to high-quality HIV prevention and care services.

Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) have an increased vulnerability to HIV transmission, especially racial/ethnic minorities living in low-income areas in the United States.

Prior research has linked HIV disparities to demographic, social, and physical geospatial characteristics.

In a study published in The Journal of Sex Research, investigators sought to summarize existing evidence from multilevel studies that examined how geospatial characteristics were associated with HIV prevention and care outcomes among the YMSM population.

The investigators identified a total of 126 peer-reviewed articles, of which, 17 were eligible for the review. Nine of the studies examined geospatial characteristics as predictions of HIV prevention outcomes, and 9 reported HIV care outcomes.

In the review, the investigators synthesized how demographic, physical, and social contexts in areas where these individuals interact correlates to behavioral and biological HIV risks.

The investigators proposed strategies to push the field forward to provide information on the design of future multilevel research and intervention studies for the YMSM population.

“Our findings highlight the importance of understanding how structural factors shape access to high-quality HIV prevention and care services and contribute to HIV disparities across geographic areas,” said lead investigator José A. Bauermeister, PhD, MPH.