Racial discrimination, social support, and sexual HIV risk among Black heterosexual men

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AIDS and Behavior

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Numerous studies document the adverse impact of racial discrimination on African Americans’ health outcomes, but few have focused on HIV risk. We examined the relationship between racial discrimination and sexual risk in a sample of 526 Black heterosexual men and tested the hypothesis that social support would moderate this relationship. Participants in the predominantly low-income urban sample ranged in age from 18 to 45. High social support had a buffering impact on the relationship between racial discrimination and sexual risk. Among men reporting high racial discrimination, those with more social support reported less sexual risk than men with low social support. Men who reported high racial discrimination and low social support reported more sexual risk than men in any of the other groups. The study highlights social support as an important but understudied protective factor that may reduce sexual risk for Black heterosexual men who report high levels of racial discrimination.