Partner Notification Methods for African American Men Being Treated for Trichomoniasis: A Consideration of Main Men, Second Hitters, and Third Players



This pilot study sought information on African American men’s preferences for partner notification methods for a common sexually transmitted infection called trichomoniasis. Two focus groups of African American men were convened at a public STI clinic where they were being treated for trichomoniasis. The groups identified a sexual hierarchy in men’s preferences for methods of partner notification. The hierarchy consisted of main men (Cake Daddies), second men (Second Hitters), and third or fourth men (Third Players), with placement depending on age, income, and social status. Health department employees affirmed the existence of a sexual hierarchy in a separate focus group. Sexual and economic bartering formed the basis of the hierarchy, and the secrecy involved in such arrangements presented a considerable challenge for STI control. Disease intervention specialists who were responsible for contact tracing spoke of cat-and-mouse methods in contacting the men without understanding fully exactly how the hierarchy influenced men’s responses to partner notification. The findings suggest that STI control efforts must take the sexual hierarchy and its privacy implications into account if partner notification methods are to be acceptable to African American men.

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