Prevalence of Hypertension in Young, Black Men Who Have Sex with Men: A Cross-Sectional Study Open Access

Devine, Carey (Spring 2021)

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Purpose: Young, Black men who have sex with men (YBMSM) have a higher risk of HIV and worse clinical outcomes of cardiovascular diseases compared to their heterosexual peers. Hypertension may exist at a young age, especially in sexual and racial minorities. We investigated the prevalence of hypertension in YBMSM and analyzed clinical and sociodemographic differences between hypertensive and non-hypertensive participants.

Methods: We performed a cross-sectional analysis of baseline data from a prospective cohort of 463 18–29-year-old YBMSM in Atlanta, GA collected during 2015-2017. Data were collected using an online questionnaire and clinicians measured blood pressure levels. Blood pressure status was categorized using the AHA’s 2017 clinical guidelines. We calculated crude proportions of hypertension by demographic and clinical characteristics and calculated prevalence ratios using log binomial regression to compare hypertensive to non-hypertensive participants.

Results: Overall, 61.2% of YBMSM were hypertensive. Although 39.3% of participants did not have health insurance, 79.4% had visited a doctor in the past year. About one in 6 (16.2%) reported depression and 15.8% reported anxiety. More than half experienced at least one form of major discrimination, and one-third had ever been arrested. Hypertensive men were 47% more likely to be overweight or obese compared to non-hypertensive men (95% CI: 1.04–2.07).

Conclusions: YBMSM in Atlanta experience a high prevalence of hypertension. Coupling hypertension screenings with current HIV prevention initiatives could help YBMSM prevent and manage both conditions. Future longitudinal studies assessing long-term hypertension incidence in YBMSM and potential risk factors, particularly mental health and stressful life events, would be beneficial.

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