This article was originally published here
J Racial Ethn Health Disparities. 2021 May 13. doi: 10.1007/s40615-021-01052-1. Online ahead of print.
Few studies examine racial differences (e.g., Black vs. White) regarding the psychosocial pathways linking mental health burdens and various HIV-related outcomes among young men who have sex with men (MSM) in the U.S. We conducted a community-based study to examine the racial differences of mental health burdens (e.g., depression, anxiety, stress), the psychosocial determinants (e.g., HIV stigma, homonegativity, resilience, social support, loneliness, housing/food security) and impact on HIV-related outcomes (e.g., event-level alcohol/drug use before sex, condomless insertive/receptive anal sex, recent HIV testing, and PrEP awareness/willingness/use) among young Black MSM (YBMSM; n = 209) and young White MSM (YWMSM; n = 109) from two cities (Nashville, TN and Buffalo, NY) in the United States. Overall, we found YBMSM were more likely (p < 0.05) to experience anxiety and depression compared to YWMSM. Among YBMSM, we found structural inequities (housing instability, food insecurity, internalized homonegativity) were positively associated with anxiety/depression/stress (p < 0.001); we also found anxiety/depression was associated with increased alcohol/drug use before sex, and stress was associated with reduced recent HIV testing and pre-exposure prophylaxis awareness/willingness/use. Among YWMSM, we found psychological buffers (perceived social support, resilience) were associated with reduced anxiety/depression/stress (p < 0.001); anxiety was associated with increased condomless insertive/receptive anal sex and recent HIV testing among this subgroup. YBMSM and YWMSM differed in psychosocial determinants and HIV-related consequences regarding their mental health. Our findings provide important implications for developing culturally and contextually tailored interventions to address mental health burdens and HIV prevention outcomes among young MSM at highest risk for HIV acquisition.