Heterosexual men's sexual safety behavior is important to controlling the U.S. epidemic of sexually transmitted infections (STIs), including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). While sexual safety is often treated as a single behavior, such as condom use, it can also be conceptualized as resulting from multiple factors. Doing so can help us achieve more nuanced understandings of sexual risk and safety within partner-related contexts. We used latent class analysis with data collected online from 18- to 25-year-old heterosexually active U.S. men (n = 432) to empirically derive a typology of the patterns of sexual safety strategies they employed. Indicators were sexual risk-reduction strategies used in the past year with the most recent female sex partner: condom use, discussing sexual histories, STI testing, agreeing to be monogamous, and discussing birth control. We identified four subgroups: Risk Takers (12%), Condom Reliers (25%), Multistrategists (28%), and Relationship Reliers (35%). Partner-related context factors—number of past-year sex partners, relationship commitment, and sexual concurrency—predicted subgroup membership. Findings support tailoring STI prevention to men's sexual risk-safety subgroups. Interventions should certainly continue to encourage condom use but should also include information on how partner-related context factors and alternate sexual safety strategies can help men reduce risk for themselves and their partners.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/erin-casey/3/