Cara E. Rice, PhD, MPH

Cara E. Rice, PhD, MPH

Cara E. Rice, PhD, MPH

Cara E. Rice, PhD, MPH is a postdoctoral research associate in the Department of Biobehavioral Health and The Methodology Center at Pennsylvania State University. She received her PhD in Epidemiology from The Ohio State University in 2014. She is an infectious disease epidemiologist, with a focus on sexual health, specifically HIV and other sexually transmitted infections. She has extensive experience in survey data collection, innovative data analysis, and working with high-risk populations. Dr. Rice’s current work applies an interdisciplinary approach to address gaps in our understanding of the increased susceptibility to HIV and other STIs among men who have sex with men (MSM).

Presentation:  “Gay Age”: Is it associated with risky behavior among men who have sex with men?
Day: Thursday
Time: Breakout Session 3
Where: Hancock

Presentation Description:
In the United States (US), men who have sex with men (MSM) are particularly vulnerable to HIV and other sexually transmitted infections (STI). The increased prevalence of HIV/STI among MSM has been linked to high-risk sexual behavior and drug use. While age is frequently examined as a potential predictor of behavior and HIV/STI risk, “gay age” defined here as time since one’s first same-sex experience may be more strongly associated with men’s behavior than biological age. This presentation will provide an introduction to the concept of gay age using data collected from a Midwestern metropolitan health department and data collected from a survey administered through an online dating site. We use modified Poisson regression and time-varying effect modeling to examine associations between gay age and sexual and substance use behaviors. Results indicate that engagement in risky behaviors, including anal sex, group sex, enema use, and drug use, increases with increasing gay age. Because gay age appears to be associated with risky behaviors, it may also be linked to HIV/STI acquisition. Gay age may serve as an important and easily measured variable on which to screen MSM who may benefit from intervention programming by clinicians and educators.

Presentation Objectives:
1. Participants will be able to describe the concept of “gay age” , how it might be assessed, and how it differs from biological age.
2. Participants will interpret the association between gay age and multiple sexual and substance use behaviors among MSM.
3. Participants will discuss how factors such as gay age might be used in an intervention framework.