Racial differences in the association of undetectable HIV viral load and transportation to an HIV provider among men who have sex with men in Atlanta, Georgia: a health equity perspective
There are inequities in HIV outcomes among Black gay, bisexual, and other sexual minority men who have sex with men (GBMSM) compared to GBMSM overall, including access to transportation to HIV care. It is unclear if the relationship between transportation and clinical outcomes extends to viral load. We assessed the relationship between transportation dependence to an HIV provider and undetectable viral load among Black and White GBMSM in Atlanta. We collected transportation and viral load information from GBMSM with HIV from 2016–2017 (n = 345). More Black than White GBMSM had a detectable viral load (25% vs. 15%) and took dependent (e.g. public) transportation (37% vs. 18%). Independent (e.g. car) transportation was associated with undetectable viral load for White GBMSM (cOR 3.61, 95% CI 1.45, 8.97) but was attenuated by income (aOR. 2.29, 95% CI 0.78, 6.71), and not associated for Black GBMSM (cOR 1.18, 95% CI 0.58, 2.24). One possible explanation for no association for Black GBMSM is that there are more competing barriers to HIV care for Black GBMSM than White GBMSM. Further investigation is needed to confirm whether 1) transportation is unimportant for Black GBMSM or 2) transportation interacts with additional factors not considered in this analysis.