Social Capital Moderates the Relationship Between Stigma and Sexual Risk Among Male Sex Workers in the US Northeast

Pablo K. Valente, Matthew J. Mimiaga, Kenneth H. Mayer, Steve A. Safren, Katie B. Biello

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Stigma contributes to elevated HIV incidence among male sex workers (MSW). Social capital (i.e., resources accessed through one’s social relationships) may act as a buffer between stigma and sexual risk behaviors and HIV acquisition. Using negative binomial regression, we examined the association between both sex work-related stigma and social capital with respect to number of condomless sex acts among 98 MSW living in the US Northeast. In models adjusted for sociodemographic characteristics, sex work-related stigma was associated with number of condomless sex acts with any non-paying partner (i.e., male and female) (aIRR = 1.25, p < 0.001) and male non-paying partners (aIRR = 1.27, p = 0.09) among individuals with low social capital, not among those with high social capital. Sex work-related stigma was not associated with number of condomless anal sex acts with male paying clients at any level of social capital. Future HIV prevention interventions should consider promoting social capital among MSW.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)29-38
Number of pages10
JournalAIDS and Behavior
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



  • Male sex workers
  • Men who have sex with men
  • Social capital
  • Stigma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Infectious Diseases

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