High rates of HIV among young black men who have sex with men (MSM) might be linked to how they select partners and judge their HIV status, according to a Johns Hopkins Children’s Center statement. High HIV rates among this population have perplexed health experts because the men don’t have more unsafe sex than young MSM of other races. To explore this, researchers from Johns Hopkins, Children’s Hospital Boston and Emory University interviewed 35 black MSM ages 18 to 24. Researchers found young black MSM have a clear preference for masculine men and equated masculinity with lower HIV risk. Feminine men were seen as high risk. Masculine partners were viewed as sexually dominant and were allowed to make the decisions on condom use.

To read the Johns Hopkins statement, click here.