Services lacking for young gay black men

Physical, sexual and emotional abuse among young gay black men is a pervasive problem, yet there remains a lack of social services and resources available to help them, a Michigan State University scholar argues in a new study.

The trauma they experience—often at a young age—is related to depression, substance abuse and high-risk sexual behavior, said Robin Lin Miller, professor of psychology.

"Young black men who are gay and bisexual have few resources available to them that are tailored to their specific needs and concerns, despite how common these are," Miller said.

Miller and colleagues interviewed 180 black gay and bisexual males aged 14 to 24 from across Michigan. Nearly a third of participants reported experiencing sexual assault; the average age of first exposure was 10. About 74 percent of participants reported at least one type of and 91 percent reported such as being ridiculed by peers, family members and others.

Most of the young men experienced multiple forms of abuse. This was associated with higher rates of drug use, depression and .

While estimates of HIV infection in the United States have remained stable since 2007, it has increased significantly in people aged 15-24, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Michigan, young black men who are gay or bisexual account for about 60 percent of all newly diagnosed HIV infections in this age group.

What few service providers are available to help these victims typically lack expertise in the unique experiences of young gay black men, Miller said.

"Collaboration among diverse specialists at the local and state level may be required to develop innovative and effective prevention, screening and treatment responses to meet the needs of this vulnerable population of young men," the study states.

The findings are published in the Journal of HIV/AIDS & Social Services.

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Condoms 'too small' for Uganda men

Sep 19, 2014

Ugandan MPs have been inundated with complaints that many condoms on sale in the east African nation are too small, warning the problem is a blow to the fight against AIDS.

Withdrawal from the evolutionary race

Sep 18, 2014

In some HIV sufferers, the immune system does not fight off the immune deficiency virus. Instead, the body tolerates the pathogen. A research team headed by ETH Zurich has now determined how strongly patients ...

The genetics of coping with HIV

Sep 16, 2014

We respond to infections in two fundamental ways. One, which has been the subject of intensive research over the years, is "resistance," where the body attacks the invading pathogen and reduces its numbers. Another, which ...

User comments