This paper describes the rationale, design, and methodology of the Ecological Study of Sexual Behaviors and HIV/STI among African American Men Who Have Sex with Men (MSM) in the Southeastern United States (U.S.; known locally simply as the MARI Study).
Participants are African American MSM aged 18 years and older residing in the deep South.
Between 2013 and 2015, 800 African American MSM recruited from two study sites (Jackson, MS and Atlanta, GA) will undergo a 1.5-hour examination to obtain anthropometric and blood pressure measures as well as to undergo testing for sexually transmitted infections (STI), including HIV. Intrapersonal, interpersonal, and environmental factors are assessed by audio computer-assisted self-interview survey. Primary outcomes include sexual risk behaviors (e.g., condomless anal sex) and prevalent STIs (HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and Chlamydia).
The MARI Study will typify the HIV environmental 'riskscape' and provide empirical evidence into novel ecological correlates of HIV risk among African American MSM in the deep South, a population most heavily impacted by HIV. The study's anticipated findings will be of interest to a broad audience and lead to more informed prevention efforts, including effective policies and interventions, that achieve the goals of the updated 2020 U.S. National HIV/AIDS Strategy.