From the archive, originally posted by: [ mmm ]

Researchers link music tastes to HIV risks

by Michel Comte  /  Aug 17, 2006

TORONTO (AFP) – US boys hooked on gospel, techno and pop are more at
risk of HIV infection than devotees of other musical styles, including
“bling, bling” hip hop, according to a new study.

Musical tastes may offer clues to rates of HIV infection, said
researchers who tried to decipher the complex behaviors and attitudes
of young men in the United States, at a global AIDS conference.

The music industry often says there is no connection between music and
sexual behavior, but hundreds of young men interviewed in New York
this year fiercely disagreed, said lead researcher Miguel Munoz-Laboy
of Columbia University.

They said images of scantily-clad women in submissive roles in hip hop
music videos, for example, had a “real impact on their lives,” he

“There is a connection. You see it in the way people dance, dress and
it has an impact on their sexuality,” said Munoz-Laboy.

The researchers peered into male youth culture to help develop HIV
prevention programs that target this demographic they say is too often
neglected by health strategists.

They looked at three New York neighborhoods and interviewed boys aged
16 to 21 about their listening tastes and attitudes toward condom use
and sexual activities.

“We often blame youth for their behavior without understanding it,”
Munoz-Laboy said. “(But) there is a complex story about sexuality,
masculinity and culture here.”

“It’s clear that current schemes are not working,” he said.

“It’s very hard to get heterosexual young men into HIV prevention
programs even though we demonize them a lot for pregnancies and
passing on STDs (sexually transmitted diseases) to their girlfriends.”

The study did not imply listening to certain types of music causes HIV
infection but simply found links between genres and risk factors.

A behavioral analysis divided participants into two musical groups:
hip hop, reggae, reggaeton, rap and rhythm and blues; and rock, heavy
metal, pop, techno, electronic and gospel.

“Kids would be appalled that we grouped them this way, but this is how
they mapped out in the mathematical analysis,” Munoz-Laboy said.

Researchers also distinguished between two styles of hip hop: the
“bling, bling” hip hop that values fancy cars, money, and many
girlfriends; and “real” hip hop that tells of urban youth stricken by
violence, poverty and drug abuse.

They found boys who listened to hip hop music were more likely to have
vaginal intercourse and had more partners, but boys from church or New
York club scenes (techno, pop, electronic) took the most sexual risks.

“Boys who listened to hip hop had more sex and more partners, but it
did not impact condom use,” said Munoz-Laboy. “Those who are part of
religious culture or the club scene used condoms inconsistently.”