Biological & Behavioral Risk Factors1

There are many reasons why men who have sex with men have a higher risk for getting and giving HIV than other groups.

The behaviors on this table make it easier to get HIV. Some biological factors make some behaviors even riskier.


Legal Risk Factors

Some states in the U.S. don’t have laws that prevent jobs, schools, and other groups from treating LGBTQ+ people unfairly. You can learn more about LGBTQ+ laws in the U.S. using a map created by the Human Rights Campaign here.

Some states in the U.S. also make it a crime to give HIV to other people, even if you did not know you had HIV. Many people charged with this crime are Black/African American men who have sex with men. You can learn more about HIV laws in the U.S. here.

Social and Cultural Risk Factors

Men who have sex with men have more physical and mental health problems than men who do not have sex with men. These problems may come from feeling lonely or disconnected, stigma, and being treated unfairly because of their sexual identity. These problems may make it harder to find quality health care, including HIV testing, treatment, and other prevention services. Read our Men of Color tab to learn more about these issues.