"Co-Occuring Health Risks among Middle Aged Hispanic Men who have Sex with Men (HMSM) in South Florida", Beatriz Valdes, PhD, PI

In 2010, men who have sex with men (MSM) represented 4% of the population in the United States and accounted for 78% of all new HIV infections among Hispanic men.

Hispanic men who have sex with men (HMSM) accounted for the third largest number of new HIV infections (6,700 cases). This dissertation explored the effects of age, loneliness, substance use, depression, and social support on high-risk sexual behaviors that predispose middle aged HMSM to sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HIV infection risk. A sample of 150 urban HMSM aged 40 to 65 were surveyed in this study. Singer’s Syndemics Theory (1996) provided this study’s theoretical framework. Loneliness, social support, depressive symptoms, alcohol/drug use, and sexual risk behaviors were found to have an influence on HIV infection status in this study. Partner status, religious affiliation and age were related to alcohol use. In addition, participants with increased age had increased depressive symptoms. Lastly, depressive symptoms, social support, and loneliness were related to participants’ sexual risk behavior, specifically alcohol use and illicit drug use. The findings from this study can be used to inform prevention strategies to reduce STI and HIV infection in this population, with particular attention to the understudied age group of middle aged HMSM. This study was funded by a Sigma Theta Tau International, Beta Tau Chapter grant.