The development and outcomes of an intervention to address serosorting among HIV negative men who have sex with men

Date of Completion

January 2009


Psychology, Behavioral|GLBT Studies|Health Sciences, Public Health




HIV continues to disproportionately affect men who have sex with men (MSM) with roughly half of incident HIV diagnoses occurring among this group in the U.S. As a result of the impact and prevalence of HIV among MSM, strategies for reducing the likelihood of HIV infection have emerged. One common HIV risk reduction strategy is to limit unprotected sex partners to those who are of the same HIV status, a practice referred to as serosorting. Although serosorting is commonly practiced, there exists limited guidance on this strategy from public health services. However, it is clear that HIV negative MSM who select partners based on HIV status, risk HIV infection due to infrequent HIV testing, lack of overt HIV status disclosure, co-occurring sexually transmitted infections, and acute HIV infection. Moreover, prior research has shown that for many men who were recently HIV infected, their greatest reported risk for HIV was unprotected anal intercourse with a partner whom they believed was HIV negative. For the current study a brief, one-on-one, counselor-delivered intervention was created and implemented to address the drawbacks of serosorting. One hundred forty nine men were recruited and randomly assigned to either a time matched, comparison control, or to a theory-based intervention condition addressing serosorting. Men were then followed and assessed at 1 month and 3 months post-counseling session. Results showed that men in the intervention condition reported fewer sexual partners compared to the control group and a greater percentage of protected sexual acts at 1 follow-up. Interventions that address partner selection strategies offer men a plan for making informed decisions around risk reduction and, in this case, appear to lower overall risk for HIV infection. ^