Author's School

Brown School of Social Work

Author's Department/Program

Social Work


English (en)

Date of Award

January 2010

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Chair and Committee

Juan Pena


This dissertation examined whether racial disparities in HIV/AIDS between African American and Caucasian male street sex workers: MSSWs) existed and, if so, what were the possible reasons for these disparities. African American MSSWs were significantly more likely to report being HIV/AIDS-positive. However, when included in binary logistic models, the relationship between HIV risk factors: of syphilis and sexual assault) and HIV status did not significantly vary between African American and Caucasian MSSWs. Mediation of sexual assault and/or syphilis between race and HIV/AIDS could not be tested due to not meeting the assumptions for mediation. African American MSSWs are over twice as likely to be HIV/AIDS infected when compared to Caucasian MSSWs, but the reasons for these racial disparities in HIV seroprevalence remain unclear. Future research should focus less on individual-level risk factors and more on population-level risk factors when examining HIV seroprevalence in low-income African American men, such as MSSWs. Social work practitioners need to be aware of these potential racial disparities in HIV/AIDS, and should work toward innovative prevention interventions for these men.


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