Introduction Social support is key to the development of young gay and bisexual men’s positive health outcomes. Little work has explored how contextual factors of social support during first same-sex promote sexual health behaviours in young Black gay and bisexual men (YBGBM).
Methods 50 YBGM aged 15–19 were recruited to complete an ACASI survey, baseline in-depth and 3 follow up qualitative interviews over the course of 1 year about the context of lived experiences (Black and gay), social support, recent sex, and sexual health experiences. 42 (84%) YBGBM completed all 4 interviews. Data were analysed to explore constructs and definitions that emerged from the data over multiple time points and then categorised into themes that emerged.
Results At baseline, participant’s mean age was 17.6 years (SD = 1.3). Participants mostly self-identified as gay (62%, N = 31) or bisexual (34%, N = 17) bisexual, and reported a mean number of lifetime sexual partners at time of baseline interview as 13.3 (SD = 14.5, Median 8.5) and mean age at first sex of 13.9 (SD = 2.6). Participants reported an average number of partners in the last 4 months of 4.4 (SD = 5.7), 2.1 (SD = 2.0), and 1.4 (SD = 1.7) partners at first, second, and third follow-up, respectively. All participants were able to describe some level of social support; but experiences of social support were inconsistent. Social support varied within economic, geographic, and racial contexts. Participants with consistent social support over follow-up were more likely to report: 1) recent STI/HIV screening; 2) condom-use with partner; and 3) overall fewer partners than youth experiencing inconsistent social support.
Conclusions Intersecting social contexts impact social support during sexual development and this may be critical to promoting positive sexual health in YBGBM.
Disclosure of interest statement The study is funded by ASTDA and NICHD K-23 HD074470–02, USA. No pharmaceutical grants were received in the development of this study.
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