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Partnerships Between Black Women and Behaviorally Bisexual Men: Implications for HIV Risk and Prevention


Although an estimated 87% of new HIV infections in Black/African American women are attributed to sex with men, many women are unaware of their male partners' HIV risk factors. Research on women who are aware of a high-risk male partner may inform HIV prevention. We analyzed transcripts from semi-structured interviews with 20 Black women who reported sex with at least one man who had sex with men and women (MSMW) in the prior 5 years. We applied Choice and Sexual Network theories to the interpretation. The majority described their partnerships as committed and involving emotional or instrumental support. Substance abuse was a common component of the relationships and very few involved consistent condom use. Although nearly all respondents described it as alarming to learn of their partners' involvement with other men and several ended the relationships, many continued the relationships without protective changes in their sex behavior. These narratives indicate that although many leave, many other women remain in relationships after learning of a male partners' high-risk activity. Substance abuse, financial instability, and a desire to remain in intimate partnerships may discourage preventive actions in these women.

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