Risk for AIDS in multiethnic neighborhoods in San Francisco, California - The population-based AMEN study

M. T. Fullilove, J. Wiley, R. E. Fullilove, E. Golden, J. Catania, J. Peterson, K. Garrett, David Siegel, B. Marin, S. Kegeles, T. Coates, S. Hulley

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30 Scopus citations


To examine the actual and potential spread of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from an acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) epicenter to surrounding neighborhoods, we studied the prevalence of the viral infection and AIDS risk behaviors from 1988 to 1989 in a representative sample of unmarried whites, African Americans, and Hispanics living in San Francisco. We surveyed 1,770 single men and women aged 20 to 44 years (a 64% response rate) in a random household sample drawn from 3 neighborhoods of varying geographic and cultural proximity to the Castro District where the San Francisco epidemic began. Of 1,369 with blood tests, 69 (5%) had HIV antibodies; all but 5 of these reported either homosexual activity (32% HIV- positive; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 23%, 41%), injection drug use (5% HIV-positive; CI = 1%, 14%), or both (59% HIV-positive; CI 42%, 74%). Homosexual activity was more common among white men than among African- American or Hispanic men, but the proportion of those infected was similar in the 3 races. Both the prevalence of homosexually active men and the proportion infected were much lower in the 2 more outlying neighborhoods. Risk behaviors in the past year for acquiring HIV heterosexually-sex with an HIV-infected person or homosexually active man or injection drug user, unprotected sexual intercourse with more than 4 partners, and (as a proxy) having a sexually transmitted disease-were assessed in 1,573 neighborhood residents who were themselves neither homosexually active men nor injection drug users. The prevalence of reporting at least 1 of these risk behaviors was 12% overall, and race-gender estimates ranged from 5% among Hispanic women to 21% among white women. We conclude that in San Francisco, infection with HIV is rare among people who are neither homosexually active nor injection drug users, but the potential for the spread of infection is substantial, as 12% of this group reported important risk behaviors for acquiring the virus heterosexually.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)32-40
Number of pages9
JournalWestern Journal of Medicine
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1992
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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