The disproportionate HIV burden shared by African, Caribbean, and Black (ACB) populations in Canada has not been explained by unique sexual behaviors in this population. This study investigates partner selection and sexual networking as potential contributors to HIV vulnerability. The study examines variations in the characteristics of sexual partners and sexual networking across groups based on differences in ethno-religious identity, gender, and length of Canadian residency among single, 16- to 27-year old, heterosexual-identified, ACB individuals living in Windsor, Ontario, Canada. Respondent-driven sampling maximized the representativeness of the sample of 250 (45 % male; 55 % female) youth with penile-vaginal intercourse experience who completed surveys. Logistic regression and analysis of variance compared groups with respect to number of lifetime partners, concurrency of sexual relationships, non-relational and age disparate partnering, and intra-ethnic sexual networking. For vulnerability associated with number of partners, concurrency and non-relational sex, women, newcomers to Canada, and African-Muslim participants were at lower vulnerability for HIV infection than their comparator groups. For vulnerability associated with sexual networking within a group with higher HIV prevalence, women and newcomers to Canada were at higher vulnerability to HIV infection than their comparator groups. There were insufficient data on age disparate partnering to support analysis. These results point to the importance of considering characteristics of partners and sexual networking both in further research and in developing policies and programs to curtail the spread of HIV and other sexually transmitted infections.
Sexual Networking and Partner Characteristics Among Single, African, Caribbean, and Black Youth in Windsor, Ontario.