Little is known about HIV treatment optimism and risk behaviors among Black men who have sex with men (BMSM). Using longitudinal data from BMSM in the HPTN 061 study, we examined participants’ self-reported comfort with having condomless sex due to optimistic beliefs regarding HIV treatment. We assessed correlates of treatment optimism and its association with subsequent risk behaviors for HIV acquisition or transmission using multivariable logistic regression with generalized estimating equations. Independent correlates of treatment optimism included age ≥35 years, annual household income <20,000, depressive symptoms, high HIV conspiracy beliefs, problematic alcohol use, and previous HIV diagnosis. Treatment optimism was independently associated with subsequent condomless anal sex with a male partner of serodiscordant/unknown HIV status among HIV-infected men, but this association was not statistically significant among HIV-uninfected men. HIV providers should engage men in counseling conversations to assess and minimize willingness to have condomless sex that is rooted in optimistic treatment beliefs without knowledge of viral suppression.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Social Psychology
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Infectious Diseases