We sought to determine incidence of, prevalence of, and risk factors for sexual orientation-related physical assault in young men who have sex with men (MSM).
We completed a prospective open cohort study of young MSM in Vancouver, British Columbia, surveyed annually between 1995 and 2004. Correlates of sexual orientation-related physical assault before enrollment were identified with logistic regression. Risk factors for incident assaults were determined with Cox regression.
At enrollment, 84 (16%) of 521 MSM reported ever experiencing assault related to actual or perceived sexual orientation. Incidence was 2.3 per 100 person-years; cumulative incidence at 6-year follow-up was 10.8 per 100 person-years. Increased risk of incident sexual orientation-related physical assault was observed among MSM 23 years or younger (relative hazard=3.1; 95% confidence interval [CI] = 1.6, 5.8), Canadian Aboriginal people (relative hazard = 3.0; 95% CI=1.4, 6.2), and those who previously experienced such assault (relative hazard=2.5; 95% CI=1.3, 4.8).
These data underscore the need for increased public awareness, surveillance, and support to reduce assault against young MSM. Such efforts should be coordinated at the community level to ensure that social norms dictate that such acts are unacceptable.