Untold Risk: HIV Transmission Behaviors in Miami’s Historically Black Communities

Sonjia Kenya, Bre Anne Young, Amanda Rosenthal, Sebastian Escarfuller, Jakisha Blackmon, Olveen Carrasquillo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advances in HIV prevention therapies have led to significant reductions in HIV transmission across the USA. However, these resources have not been equally utilized across all populations, with Black communities in the Southeastern USA experiencing among the greatest HIV disparities in the nation. Tailoring HIV programs to align with the cultural norms of minority communities is one approach that can increase uptake of HIV prevention services. However, accomplishing this requires a rich understanding of the unique risk factors and the context of HIV transmission among men and women within culturally distinct communities. To further our understanding, we examined HIV risk behaviors among Black adults living in geographic HIV hotspots of Miami-Dade County. Between December 2016 and April 2019, data on HIV risk behaviors use a standardized HIV assessment developed by the Florida Department of Health. Chi-square and t-test analyses were conducted to examine differences in population demographics and risk factors, and logistic regression was used to test for predictors of HIV status. Results indicate that a significant portion of participants had prior experience with HIV testing, a known protective factor against HIV transmission. Despite this, much of the sample also reported recent engagement in high-risk sexual behaviors. These findings emphasize the need for intervention development within the context of population-specific behaviors. Future research should further consider the importance of transmission behaviors among clusters of demographically similar populations at high risk for or living with HIV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities
StateAccepted/In press - 2021


  • African-American
  • Black communities
  • Health disparities
  • HIV
  • Sexual risk
  • Transmission behaviors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Health(social science)
  • Anthropology
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Health Policy
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


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