A sense of commitment between male sexual partners is connected with a greater likelihood of an accurate perception of the other man’s HIV status among very high-risk individuals. Meanwhile, a sense of trust has the opposite effect. Publishing their findings in Sexually Transmitted Infections, researchers analyzed 168 sexual partnerships of 116 male sex workers who have sex with men.

Those who felt commitment toward their partner were 55 percent less likely to misperceive their partner’s HIV status, while a sense of trust was linked to a 2.78-fold greater likelihood of misperception. Misperception was defined as assuming the partner is HIV negative when he is actually either HIV-diagnosed or doesn’t know his status. HIV-negative men were 7.69 times more likely to misperceive a partner’s HIV status than HIV-positive men, while men in partnerships with another man in which they both identified as gay were 3.57 times more likely to misperceive than those in partnerships with different sexual orientation identifications.

Attributes associated with reduced misperception about HIV status include: sexual encounters identified as sex work (71 percent less likely); partnerships between caucasians (84 percent less likely); and men who were involved with an older partner (10 percent less likely).

To read the study abstract, click here.