College of Science and Health Theses and Dissertations

Date of Award

Summer 8-21-2016

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Christopher Keys, PhD

Second Advisor

Gary Harper

Third Advisor

Richard Renfro


Infection with HIV is a global pandemic that continues to have particular impacts on Black men who have sex with men. Accordingly, researchers have examined risk behaviors in order to inform interventions that seek to decrease transmission. However, there has been relatively little research that has examined the dating and sexual experiences of Black GBMSM living with HIV absent a particular focus on sexual risk and potential transmission. The present study seeks to better understand the dating and sexual experiences of a sample of young Black GBMSM living with HIV. Twenty young Black GBMSM living with HIV were interviewed using a semi-structured interview guide meant to explore their dating and sexual experiences since diagnosis. Using thematic analysis, the author identified salient aspects of the broad identity-related experiences, dating experiences, and sexual experiences for young Black GBMSM living with HIV. Salient themes related to identity were: (1) broad experiences as young Black GBMSM living with HIV, (2) experiences related to Black identity, (3) experiences related to sexual orientation, and (4) experiences related to HIV. Salient themes related to dating were: (1) broad dating experiences as related to Blackness, (2) impacts of HIV on new relationships, (3) impacts of HIV on existing relationships, and (4) qualities of healthy dating relationships. Salient themes related to sexual relationships were: (1) sexual experiences as related to Blackness, (2) relationship between HIV and sexual desire, (3) impacts of HIV on sexual intercourse, (4) fear of hurt if partner becomes HIV-positive, (5) sexual risk negotiation, and (6) qualities of healthy sexual relationships. Salient themes that related to both dating and sex were: (1) selecting partners and (2) navigating disclosure in relationships. Findings suggest that HIV is the most salient factor HIV-positive young Black GBMSM consider when exploring their experiences in intimate relationships. Given the primacy of HIV and the negative trend of participants’ experiences related to others’ perception of HIV, suggestions for improving sexual health education and public health campaigns are offered.

SLP Collection