Young men who have sex with men (YMSM) are at alarming risk for HIV acquisition, demonstrating the highest rates of incident infection of any age-risk group. GRINDR is a global positioning service-based social networking application popular with YMSM for sexual partnering. To assess the characteristics of YMSM who use GRINDR, we conducted a computer-assisted self-interview-based survey of 375 YMSM using GRINDR in metropolitan Los Angeles, recruited using the GRINDR platform. The median age was 25 (interquartile range, 22–27) years old, 42.4 % caucasian, 6.4 % African American, 33.6 % Latino, and 14.1 % Asian/Pacific Islander. Participants reported high rates of sexual partnering and unprotected anal intercourse (UAI). The majority (70 %) of those reporting unprotected anal intercourse reported low perception of HIV-acquisition risk. Of the participants, 83.1 % reported HIV testing within the past 12 months; 4.3 % had never been HIV tested. Of the participants, 4.5 % reported HIV-positive serostatus; 51.7 % indicated that they would be interested in participating in a future HIV prevention trial. Latinos were more likely than either caucasians or African Americans to endorse trial participation interest (odds ratio, 1.9; 95 % confidence interval [1.1–3.3]). HIV-positive test results were associated with increased number of anal sex partners in the past 3 months (adjusted odds ratio (AOR), 1.53 [0.97–2.40]), inconsistent inquiry about partners’ serostatus (AOR, 3.63 [1.37–9.64]), reporting the purpose for GRINDR use including “friendship” (AOR, 0.17 [0.03–1.06), and meeting a sexual partner in a bookstore in the past 3 months (AOR, 33.84 [0.99–1152]). Men recruited via GRINDR were high risk for HIV acquisition or transmission and interested in clinical trial participation, suggesting potential for this method to be used for recruitment of YMSM to HIV prevention trials.
This study examined trends in rural–urban disparities in all-cause and cause-specific mortality in the USA between 1969 and 2009. A rural–urban continuum measure was linked to county-level mortality data. Age-adjusted death rates were calculated by sex, race, cause-of-death, area-poverty, and urbanization level for 13 time periods between 1969 and 2009. Cause-of-death decomposition and log-linear and Poisson regression were used to analyze rural–urban differentials. Mortality rates increased with increasing levels of rurality overall and for non-Hispanic whites, blacks, and American Indians/Alaska Natives. Despite the declining mortality trends, mortality risks for both males and females and for blacks and whites have been increasingly higher in non-metropolitan than metropolitan areas, particularly since 1990. In 2005–2009, mortality rates varied from 391.9 per 100,000 population for Asians/Pacific Islanders in rural areas to 1,063.2 for blacks in small-urban towns. Poverty gradients were steeper in rural areas, which maintained higher mortality than urban areas after adjustment for poverty level. Poor blacks in non-metropolitan areas experienced two to three times higher all-cause and premature mortality risks than affluent blacks and whites in metropolitan areas. Disparities widened over time; excess mortality from all causes combined and from several major causes of death in non-metropolitan areas was greater in 2005–2009 than in 1990–1992. Causes of death contributing most to the increasing rural–urban disparity and higher rural mortality include heart disease, unintentional injuries, COPD, lung cancer, stroke, suicide, diabetes, nephritis, pneumonia/influenza, cirrhosis, and Alzheimer’s disease. Residents in metropolitan areas experienced larger mortality reductions during the past four decades than non-metropolitan residents, contributing to the widening gap.
The protective effect of family structure and socioeconomic status (SES) on physical and mental health is well established. There are reports, however, documenting a smaller return of SES among Blacks compared to Whites, also known as Blacks’ diminished return. Using a national sample, this study investigated race by gender differences in the effects of family structure and family SES on subsequent body mass index (BMI) over a 15-year period. This 15-year longitudinal study used data from the Fragile Families and Child Wellbeing Study (FFCWS), in-home survey. This study followed 1781 youth from birth to age 15. The sample was composed of White males (n = 241, 13.5%), White females (n = 224, 12.6%), Black males (n = 667, 37.5%), and Black females (n = 649, 36.4%). Family structure and family SES (maternal education and income to need ratio) at birth were the independent variables. BMI at age 15 was the outcome. Race and gender were the moderators. Linear regression models were run in the pooled sample, in addition to race by gender groups. In the pooled sample, married parents, more maternal education, and income to need ratio were all protective against high BMI of youth at 15 years of age. Race interacted with family structure, maternal education, and income to need ratio on BMI, indicating smaller effects for Blacks compared to Whites. Gender did not interact with SES indicators on BMI. Race by gender stratified regressions showed the most consistent associations between family SES and future BMI for White females followed by White males. Family structure, maternal education, and income to need ratio were not associated with lower BMI in Black males or females. The health gain received from family economic resources over time is smaller for male and female Black youth than for male and female White youth. Equalizing access to economic resources may not be enough to eliminate health disparities in obesity. Policies should address qualitative differences in the lives of Whites and Blacks which result in diminished health returns with similar SES resources. Policies should address structural and societal barriers that hold Blacks against translation of their SES resources to health outcomes.
This report describes the evolution of a Boston community health center’s multidisciplinary model of transgender healthcare, research, education, and dissemination of best practices. This process began with the development of a community-based approach to care that has been refined over almost 20 years where transgender patients have received tailored services through the Transgender Health Program. The program began as a response to unmet clinical needs and has grown through recognition that our local culturally responsive approach that links clinical care with biobehavioral and health services research, education, training, and advocacy promotes social justice and health equity for transgender people. Fenway Health’s holistic public health efforts recognize the key role of gender affirmation in the care and well-being of transgender people worldwide.
Several studies have examined associations between the food retail environment and obesity, though virtually no work has been done in the urban South, where obesity rates are among the highest in the country. This study assessed associations between access to food retail outlets and obesity in New Orleans. Data on individual characteristics and body weight were collected by telephone interviews from a random sample of adults (N = 3,925) living in New Orleans in 2004-2005. The neighborhood of each individual was geo-mapped by creating a 2-km buffer around the center point of the census tract in which they lived. Food retailer counts were created by summing the total number of each food store type and fast food establishment within this 2-km neighborhood. Hierarchical linear models assessed associations between access to food retailers and obesity status. After adjusting for individual characteristics, each additional supermarket in a respondent's neighborhood was associated with a reduced odds for obesity (OR 0.93, 95% CI 0.88-0.99). Fast food restaurant (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02) and convenience store (OR 1.01, 95% CI 1.00-1.02) access were each predictive of greater obesity odds. An individual's access to food stores and fast food restaurants may play a part in determining weight status. Future studies with longitudinal and experimental designs are needed to test whether modifications in the food environment may assist in the prevention of obesity.
A growing body of evidence links the built environment to physical activity levels, health outcomes, and transportation behaviors. However, little of this research has focused on cycling, a sustainable transportation option with great potential for growth in North America. This study examines associations between decisions to bicycle (versus drive) and the built environment, with explicit consideration of three different spatial zones that may be relevant in travel behavior: trip origins, trip destinations, and along the route between. We analyzed 3,280 utilitarian bicycle and car trips in Metro Vancouver, Canada made by 1,902 adults, including both current and potential cyclists. Objective measures were developed for built environment characteristics related to the physical environment, land use patterns, the road network, and bicycle-specific facilities. Multilevel logistic regression was used to model the likelihood that a trip was made by bicycle, adjusting for trip distance and personal demographics. Separate models were constructed for each spatial zone, and a global model examined the relative influence of the three zones. In total, 31% (1,023 out of 3,280) of trips were made by bicycle. Increased odds of bicycling were associated with less hilliness; higher intersection density; less highways and arterials; presence of bicycle signage, traffic calming, and cyclist-activated traffic lights; more neighborhood commercial, educational, and industrial land uses; greater land use mix; and higher population density. Different factors were important within each spatial zone. Overall, the characteristics of routes were more influential than origin or destination characteristics. These findings indicate that the built environment has a significant influence on healthy travel decisions, and spatial context is important. Future research should explicitly consider relevant spatial zones when investigating the relationship between physical activity and urban form.
Data from a nationally representative probability-based online survey sample of US adults conducted in 2015 (n = 3949, response rate 55%) were used to assess self-reported gun storage practices among gun owners with children. The presence of firearms and children in the home, along with other household and individual level characteristics, was ascertained from all respondents. Questions pertaining to household firearms (how guns are stored, number, type, etc.) were asked only of those respondents who reported that they personally owned a gun. We found that approximately one in three US households contains at least one firearm, regardless of whether children lived in the home (0.34 [0.29–0.39]) or not (0.35 [0.32–0.38]). Among gun-owning households with children, approximately two in ten gun owners store at least one gun in the least safe manner, i.e., loaded and unlocked (0.21 [0.17–0.26]); three in ten store all guns in the safest manner, i.e., unloaded and locked (0.29, [0.24–0.34]; and the remaining half (0.50 [0.45–0.55]) store firearms in some other way. Although firearm storage practices do not appear to vary across some demographic characteristics, including age, sex, and race, gun owners are more likely to store at least one gun loaded and unlocked if they are female (0.31 [0.23–0.41]) vs. male (0.17 [0.13–0.22]); own at least one handgun (0.27 [0.22–0.32] vs. no handguns (0.05 [0.02–0.15]); or own firearms for protection (0.29 [0.24–0.35]) vs. do not own for protection (0.03 [0.01–0.08]). Approximately 7% of US children (4.6 million) live in homes in which at least one firearm is stored loaded and unlocked, an estimate that is more than twice as high as estimates reported in 2002, the last time a nationally representative survey assessed this outcome. To the extent that the high prevalence of children exposed to unsafe storage that we observe reflects a secular change in public opinion towards the belief that having a gun in the home makes the home safer, rather than less safe, interventions that aim to make homes safer for children should address this misconception. Guidance alone, such as that offered by the American Academy of Pediatrics, has fallen short. Our findings underscore the need for more active and creative efforts to reduce children’s exposure to unsafely stored firearms.
Census data are widely used for assessing neighborhood socioeconomic context. Research using census data has been inconsistent in variable choice and usually limited to single geographic areas. This paper seeks to a) outline a process for developing a neighborhood deprivation index using principal components analysis and b) demonstrate an example of its utility for identifying contextual variables that are associated with perinatal health outcomes across diverse geographic areas. Year 2000 U.S. Census and vital records birth data (1998–2001) were merged at the census tract level for 19 cities (located in three states) and five suburban counties (located in three states), which were used to create eight study areas within four states. Census variables representing five socio-demographic domains previously associated with health outcomes, including income/poverty, education, employment, housing, and occupation, were empirically summarized using principal components analysis. The resulting first principal component, hereafter referred to as neighborhood deprivation, accounted for 51 to 73% of the total variability across eight study areas. Component loadings were consistent both within and across study areas (0.2–0.4), suggesting that each variable contributes approximately equally to “deprivation” across diverse geographies. The deprivation index was associated with the unadjusted prevalence of preterm birth and low birth weight for white non-Hispanic and to a lesser extent for black non-Hispanic women across the eight sites. The high correlations between census variables, the inherent multidimensionality of constructs like neighborhood deprivation, and the observed associations with birth outcomes suggest the utility of using a deprivation, index for research into neighborhood effects on adverse birth outcomes.
This study analyzed data from a large prospective epidemiologic cohort study among men who have sex with men (MSM), the Multicenter AIDS Cohort Study, to assess syndemic relationships among Black MSM in the cohort (N = 301). We hypothesized that multiple interconnections among psychosocial health conditions would be found among these men, defining syndemic conditions. Constituents of syndemic conditions measured included reported depression symptoms, sexual compulsiveness, substance use, intimate partner violence (IPV), and stress. We found significant evidence of syndemics among these Black men: depression symptoms were independently associated with sexual compulsiveness (odds ratios [OR]: 1.88, 95% CI = 1.1, 3.3) and stress (OR: 2.67, 95% CI = 1.5, 4.7); sexual compulsiveness was independently associated with stress (OR: 2.04, 95% CI = 1.2, 3.5); substance misuse was independently associated with IPV (OR: 2.57, 95% CI = 1.4, 4.8); stress independently was associated with depression symptoms (OR: 2.67, 95% CI = 1.5, 4.7), sexual compulsiveness (OR: 2.04, 95% CI = 1.2, 3.5) and IPV (OR: 2.84, 95% CI = 1.6, 4.9). Moreover, men who reported higher numbers of syndemic constituents (three or more conditions) reportedly engaged in more unprotected anal intercourse compared to men who had two or fewer health conditions (OR: 3.46, 95% CI = 1.4–8.3). Findings support the concept of syndemics in Black MSM and suggest that syndemic theory may help explain complexities that sustain HIV-related sexual transmission behaviors in this group.
Although racial and ethnic minorities are more likely to be involved with the criminal justice system than whites in the USA, critical scientific gaps exist in our understanding of the relationship between the criminal justice system and the persistence of racial/ethnic health disparities. Individuals engaged with the criminal justice system are at risk for poor health outcomes. Furthermore, criminal justice involvement may have direct or indirect effects on health and health care. Racial/ethnic health disparities may be exacerbated or mitigated at several stages of the criminal justice system. Understanding and addressing the health of individuals involved in the criminal justice system is one component of a comprehensive strategy to reduce population health disparities and improve the health of our urban communities.
Direct and indirect exposure to gun violence have considerable consequences on individual health and well-being. However, no study has considered the effects of one’s social network on gunshot injury. This study investigates the relationship between an individual’s position in a high-risk social network and the probability of being a victim of a fatal or non-fatal gunshot wound by combining observational data from the police with records of fatal and non-fatal gunshot injuries among 763 individuals in Boston’s Cape Verdean community. A logistic regression approach is used to analyze the probability of being the victim of a fatal or non-fatal gunshot wound and whether such injury is related to age, gender, race, prior criminal activity, exposure to street gangs and other gunshot victims, density of one’s peer network, and the social distance to other gunshot victims. The findings demonstrate that 85 % all of the gunshot injuries in the sample occur within a single social network. Probability of gunshot victimization is related to one’s network distance to other gunshot victims: each network association removed from another gunshot victim reduces the odds of gunshot victimization by 25 % (odds ratio = 0.75; 95 % confidence interval, 0.65 to 0.87). This indirect exposure to gunshot victimization exerts an effect above and beyond the saturation of gunshot victimization in one’s peer network, age, prior criminal activity, and other individual and network variables.
The complexity of many urban health problems often makes them ill suited to traditional research approaches and interventions. The resultant frustration, together with community calls for genuine partnership in the research process, has highlighted the importance of an alternative paradigm. Community-based participatory research (CBPR) is presented as a promising collaborative approach that combines systematic inquiry, participation, and action to address urban health problems. Following a brief review of its basic tenets and historical roots, key ways in which CBPR adds value to urban health research are introduced and illustrated. Case study examples from diverse international settings are used to illustrate some of the difficult ethical challenges that may arise in the course of CBPR partnership approaches. The concepts of partnership synergy and cultural humility, together with protocols such as Green et al.’s guidelines for appraising CBPR projects, are highlighted as useful tools for urban health researchers seeking to apply this collaborative approach and to deal effectively with the difficult ethical challenges it can present.
At the same time as cities are growing, their share of older residents is increasing. To engage and assist cities to become more “age-friendly,” the World Health Organization (WHO) prepared the Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide and a companion “Checklist of Essential Features of Age-Friendly Cities”. In collaboration with partners in 35 cities from developed and developing countries, WHO determined the features of age-friendly cities in eight domains of urban life: outdoor spaces and buildings; transportation; housing; social participation; respect and social inclusion; civic participation and employment; communication and information; and community support and health services. In 33 cities, partners conducted 158 focus groups with persons aged 60 years and older from lower- and middle-income areas of a locally defined geographic area (n = 1,485). Additional focus groups were held in most sites with caregivers of older persons (n = 250 caregivers) and with service providers from the public, voluntary, and commercial sectors (n = 515). No systematic differences in focus group themes were noted between cities in developed and developing countries, although the positive, age-friendly features were more numerous in cities in developed countries. Physical accessibility, service proximity, security, affordability, and inclusiveness were important characteristics everywhere. Based on the recurring issues, a set of core features of an age-friendly city was identified. The Global Age-Friendly Cities Guide and companion “Checklist of Essential Features of Age-Friendly Cities” released by WHO serve as reference for other communities to assess their age readiness and plan change.
Structural interventions refer to public health interventions that promote health by altering the structural context within which health is produced and reproduced. They draw on concepts from multiple disciplines, including public health, psychiatry, and psychology, in which attention to interventions is common, and sociology and political economy, where structure is a familiar, if contested, concept. This has meant that even as discussions of structural interventions bring together researchers from various fields, they can get stalled in debates over definitions. In this paper, we seek to move these discussions forward by highlighting a number of critical issues raised by structural interventions, and the subsequent implications of these for research.
It has long been recognized that as societies modernize, they experience significant changes in their patterns of health and disease. Despite rapid modernization across the globe, there are relatively few detailed case studies of changes in health and disease within specific countries especially for sub-Saharan African countries. This paper presents evidence to illustrate the nature and speed of the epidemiological transition in Accra, Ghana's capital city. As the most urbanized and modernized Ghanaian city, and as the national center of multidisciplinary research since becoming state capital in 1877, Accra constitutes an important case study for understanding the epidemiological transition in African cities. We review multidisciplinary research on culture, development, health, and disease in Accra since the late nineteenth century, as well as relevant work on Ghana's socio-economic and demographic changes and burden of chronic disease. Our review indicates that the epidemiological transition in Accra reflects a protracted polarized model. A "protracted" double burden of infectious and chronic disease constitutes major causes of morbidity and mortality. This double burden is polarized across social class. While wealthy communities experience higher risk of chronic diseases, poor communities experience higher risk of infectious diseases and a double burden of infectious and chronic diseases. Urbanization, urban poverty and globalization are key factors in the transition. We explore the structures and processes of these factors and consider the implications for the epidemiological transition in other African cities.
To date, health effects of exposure to the September 11, 2001 disaster in New York City have been studied in specific groups, but no studies have estimated its impact across the different exposed populations. This report provides an overview of the World Trade Center Health Registry (WTCHR) enrollees, their exposures, and their respiratory and mental health outcomes 2–3 years post-9/11. Results are extrapolated to the estimated universe of people eligible to enroll in the WTCHR to determine magnitude of impact. Building occupants, persons on the street or in transit in lower Manhattan on 9/11, local residents, rescue and recovery workers/volunteers, and area school children and staff were interviewed and enrolled in the WTCHR between September 2003 and November 2004. A total of 71,437 people enrolled in the WTCHR, for 17.4% coverage of the estimated eligible exposed population (nearly 410,000); 30% were recruited from lists, and 70% were self-identified. Many reported being in the dust cloud from the collapsing WTC Towers (51%), witnessing traumatic events (70%), or sustaining an injury (13%). After 9/11, 67% of adult enrollees reported new or worsening respiratory symptoms, 3% reported newly diagnosed asthma, 16% screened positive for probable posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and 8% for serious psychological distress (SPD). Newly diagnosed asthma was most common among rescue and recovery workers who worked on the debris pile (4.1%). PTSD was higher among those who reported Hispanic ethnicity (30%), household income <$25,000 (31%), or being injured (35%). Using previously published estimates of the total number of exposed people per WTCHR eligibility criteria, we estimate between 3,800 and 12,600 adults experienced newly diagnosed asthma and 34,600–70,200 adults experienced PTSD following the attacks, suggesting extensive adverse health impacts beyond the immediate deaths and injuries from the acute event.
The health effects of police surveillance practices for the community at-large are unknown. Using microlevel health data from the 2009-2012 New York City Community Health Survey (NYC-CHS) nested within mesolevel data from the 20092012 NYC Stop, Question, and Frisk (NYC-SQF) dataset, this study evaluates contextual and ethnoracially variant associations between invasive aspects of pedestrian stops and multiple dimensions of poor health. Results reveal that living in neighborhoods where pedestrian stops are more likely to become invasive is associated with worse health. Living in neighborhoods where stops are more likely to result in frisking show the most consistent negative associations. More limited deleterious effects can be attributed to living in neighborhoods where stops are more likely to involve use of force or in neighborhoods with larger ethnoracial disparities in frisking or use of force. However, the health effects of pedestrian stops vary by ethnoracial group in complex ways. For instance, minorities who live in neighborhoods with a wider ethno racial disparity in police behavior have poorer health outcomes in most respects, but blacks have lower odds of diabetes when they live in neighborhoods where they face a higher risk that a stop will involve use of force by police than do whites. The findings suggest that the consequences of the institutionalization of the carceral state are far-reaching.
In the USA, homicide is a leading cause of death for young males and a major cause of racial disparities in life expectancy for men. There are intense debate and little rigorous research on the effects of firearm sales regulation on homicides. This study estimates the impact of Missouri's 2007 repeal of its permit-to-purchase (PTP) handgun law on states' homicide rates and controls for changes in poverty, unemployment, crime, incarceration, policing levels, and other policies that could potentially affect homicides. Using death certificate data available through 2010, the repeal of Missouri's PTP law was associated with an increase in annual firearm homicides rates of 1.09 per 100,000 (+23 %) but was unrelated to changes in non-firearm homicide rates. Using Uniform Crime Reporting data from police through 2012, the law's repeal was associated with increased annual murders rates of 0.93 per 100,000 (+16 %). These estimated effects translate to increases of between 55 and 63 homicides per year in Missouri.
Sex trafficking, trafficking for the purpose of forced sexual exploitation, is a widespread form of human trafficking that occurs in all regions of the world, affects mostly women and girls, and has far-reaching health implications. Studies suggest that up to 50 % of sex trafficking victims in the USA seek medical attention while in their trafficking situation, yet it is unclear how the healthcare system responds to the needs of victims of sex trafficking. To understand the intersection of sex trafficking and public health, we performed in-depth qualitative interviews among 277 antitrafficking stakeholders across eight metropolitan areas in five countries to examine the local context of sex trafficking. We sought to gain a new perspective on this form of gender-based violence from those who have a unique vantage point and intimate knowledge of push-and-pull factors, victim health needs, current available resources and practices in the health system, and barriers to care. Through comparative analysis across these contexts, we found that multiple sociocultural and economic factors facilitate sex trafficking, including child sexual abuse, the objectification of women and girls, and lack of income. Although there are numerous physical and psychological health problems associated with sex trafficking, health services for victims are patchy and poorly coordinated, particularly in the realm of mental health. Various factors function as barriers to a greater health response, including low awareness of sex trafficking and attitudinal biases among health workers. A more comprehensive and coordinated health system response to sex trafficking may help alleviate its devastating effects on vulnerable women and girls. There are numerous opportunities for local health systems to engage in antitrafficking efforts while partnering across sectors with relevant stakeholders.
Opiate overdose is a significant cause of mortality among injection drug users (IDUs) in the United States (US). Opiate overdose can be reversed by administering naloxone, an opiate antagonist. Among IDUs, prevalence of witnessing overdose events is high, and the provision of take-home naloxone to IDUs can be an important intervention to reduce the number of overdose fatalities. The Drug Overdose Prevention and Education (DOPE) Project was the first naloxone prescription program (NPP) established in partnership with a county health department (San Francisco Department of Public Health), and is one of the longest running NPPs in the USA. From September 2003 to December 2009, 1,942 individuals were trained and prescribed naloxone through the DOPE Project, of whom 24% returned to receive a naloxone refill, and 11% reported using naloxone during an overdose event. Of 399 overdose events where naloxone was used, participants reported that 89% were reversed. In addition, 83% of participants who reported overdose reversal attributed the reversal to their administration of naloxone, and fewer than 1% reported serious adverse effects. Findings from the DOPE Project add to a growing body of research that suggests that IDUs at high risk of witnessing overdose events are willing to be trained on overdose response strategies and use take-home naloxone during overdose events to prevent deaths.