With the lifetime risk of HIV for black gay men nearing 50% in the U.S., public health experts are keen to identify what’s putting young gay black men at higher risk—and figure out what can be done to protect young gay black men from HIV.
A new study, by Ethan Morgan, PhD and colleagues, tried to answer some of these questions with research that included young African-American and black men who have sex with men living in the South side of Chicago. The researchers studied HIV “transmission clusters,” which are groups of people living with HIV who are linked to genetically similar strains of HIV (and therefore known to have transmitted HIV to one another).
“This method of studying HIV transmission clusters allows us to observe cluster growth and formation and direct resources in a more efficient manner,” explained Morgan. “For example, if we are able to determine that many individuals in an HIV transmission cluster have also been using intravenous drugs such as opioids, we are then able to better target prevention resources to prevent further transmission.”