Rise in Unprotected Sex by Gay Men Spurs H.I.V. Fears

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    Nov 27, 2013 9:35 PM GMT
    Federal health officials are reporting a sharp increase in unprotected sex among gay American men over the last decade, a development that makes it harder to fight the AIDS epidemic.

    The same trend has recently been documented among gay men in Canada, Britain, the Netherlands, France and Australia, heightening concerns among public health officials worldwide.

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of men who told federal health investigators that they had had unprotected anal sex in the last year rose nearly 20 percent from 2005 to 2011. In the 2011 survey, unprotected sex was more than twice as common among men who said they did not know whether they were infected with H.I.V.

    Being tested even once for H.I.V. is associated with men taking fewer risks, whether the test is positive or negative, health experts say. But the most recent survey found that a third of the men interviewed had not been tested in the past year.

    The findings are worrying because “unprotected anal intercourse is in a league of its own as far as risk is concerned,” Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the disease centers, said on Wednesday as the figures were released.

    The data, published in the agency’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, do not explain why unprotected sex has risen so rapidly, but a leading hypothesis, Dr. Frieden said, is that more men are “sero-sorting” – that is, those who are uninfected (“H.I.V. seronegative” on lab reports) try to sleep only with other men who are uninfected, or who hope they are, or who merely promise they are.

    “The problem with sero-sorting is that it’s really easy to get it wrong,” Dr. Frieden said. “When one-third of men aren’t even tested in the last year and a tenth of those who thought they were negative were actually positive, you don’t want to risk your life on a guess.”

    Other hypotheses, say Dr. Frieden and Dr. Jonathan Mermin, the disease centers’ director of H.I.V. prevention, are that many young men have never known anyone dying of AIDS and so do not fear it, or that they believe that they can easily stay on antiretroviral drugs for life.



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    Nov 29, 2013 4:04 PM GMT
    Jaggal saidI feel.....

    We would love to think so..
    RJers are very informed.

    On the other hand Jag..There is contradiction between new cases and awareness...

    So many are well informed and still choose to Bareback.
    The rise in new cases is proof that what we say and know are not reflective of what we do in the bedroom.

    ...Ignore the jar of Mayo and the egg beater on my night-stand..I um.Ahh.. was watching The food network.. hehehe... icon_smile.gif
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    Nov 29, 2013 4:53 PM GMT

    *assumes Draper has never heard of condoms*
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    Nov 29, 2013 7:43 PM GMT
    I remember when the Gay Plague Era was underway, the first lot of our communities to be hit hard was the leather Queens, and Bears; all of a sudden there was less leather and plaid, as well mustache's around, all because of their unsafe sexual behavior; no condoms and hard ruff sex.
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    Nov 30, 2013 12:45 PM GMT
    Gay men spurs?

  • Amelorn

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    Nov 30, 2013 9:09 PM GMT
    Sadly, there's quite a cavalier attitude towards HIV prevalent in many younger people. I was speaking with an older couple (hetero marriage, both partners bi, aged mid-50s) after a gender/sexuality seminar. They, who were adults during the era of gay plague/GRIDS/panic etc, were shocked at the comparatively blasé attitude some of my contemporaries (aged late teens, early 20s took). A combination of "it just goes with the [gay] territory" and "drugs will fix it" lead to less rigorous personal standards.

    I saw an uncle nearly killed by the disease and rather screwed up from the anti-retroviral side effects, so I have seen first hand the danger in such thinking.