UCSF Researcher Finds Risk Factors For HIV Infection Among Men Who Have Sex With Men

June 30, 1998

GENEVA, Switzerland--A University of California San Francisco investigator has found a number of activities that significantly increase the risk of acquiring HIV among HIV-uninfected gay/bisexual men.

In addition to having many partners, having unprotected receptive anal sex with an HIV-infected man or partners of unknown serostatus, some types of drug use, oral sex to ejaculation with a positive partner, and even being uncircumcised were associated with a 1.8-3.7 fold increased risk of infection.

Some of the risk factors were a surprise, said Susan Buchbinder, MD, director of the HIV Research Section in the San Francisco Department of Public Health and assistant clinical professor of medicine and epidemiology at UCSF. She presented the study findings here today (June 30) at the 12th World AIDS Conference.

"Unprotected receptive anal sex is clearly the riskiest behavior for contracting HIV," said Buchbinder, "but people have to recognize infections occurring from partners of unknown HIV serostatus are accounting for as many infections as those from partners known to be HIV positive."

Buchbinder said other factors associated with increased risk of HIV infection that surprised her were the association of amyl nitrate ("popper") use, oral sex with a positive partner, and being uncircumcised.

For her study, Buchbinder took the survey results of 3,257 gay men enrolled in the HIVNET Vaccine Preparedness Study in six U.S. cities, including San Francisco. The participants were interviewed, counseled, and tested for HIV every 6 months for 18 months.

Buchbinder calculated both the riskiness of particular behaviors, and the "attributable fraction" of those activities, that is, the proportion of total infections that were associated with that behavior. Although the attributable fraction doesn't tell whether the behavior causes the infection, Buchbinder said, it is a way of combining how risky the activity is with how many seroconverters actually engaged in that activity.

The fraction yields a useful number for understanding how much that behavior may be contributing to infection in the community being studied. Because men often had more than one risk factor, the attributable fraction will total more than 100 percent.

The study results found that men under the age of 35 were more likely to become infected with HIV than those 35 and older, and 76 percent of the seroconverters were under 35.

Once she equalized the differences among the men based on city, age and race, her findings also showed:

Buchbinder's findings emphasize areas critical for counseling intervention. "The fact that younger age is associated with a higher risk of HIV infection should underscore the need for prevention efforts targeted at young people," Buchbinder said. "In addition to reducing unprotected sex, counseling should focus on reducing the total number of partners. Also, gay men should be warned that poppers, injection drug use, and having unprotected receptive oral sex to ejaculation can be dangerous."

Co-investigators on Buchbinder's study are: Patrick Heagerty, Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center, Seattle, Wash.; Beryl Kobline, The New York Blood Center, New York; Ken Mayer, Fenway Community Health Center, Boston, Mass.; John Douglas, Denver Department of Public Health; Connie Celum, University of Washington, Seattle; and George Seage, Boston University School of Public Health.

University of California - San Francisco

Related HIV Articles from Brightsurf:

BEAT-HIV Delaney collaboratory issues recommendations measuring persistent HIV reservoirs
Spearheaded by Wistar scientists, top worldwide HIV researchers from the BEAT-HIV Martin Delaney Collaboratory to Cure HIV-1 Infection by Combination Immunotherapy (BEAT-HIV Collaboratory) compiled the first comprehensive set of recommendations on how to best measure the size of persistent HIV reservoirs during cure-directed clinical studies.

The Lancet HIV: Study suggests a second patient has been cured of HIV
A study of the second HIV patient to undergo successful stem cell transplantation from donors with a HIV-resistant gene, finds that there was no active viral infection in the patient's blood 30 months after they stopped anti-retroviral therapy, according to a case report published in The Lancet HIV journal and presented at CROI (Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections).

Children with HIV score below HIV-negative peers in cognitive, motor function tests
Children who acquired HIV in utero or during birth or breastfeeding did not perform as well as their peers who do not have HIV on tests measuring cognitive ability, motor function and attention, according to a report published online today in Clinical Infectious Diseases.

Efforts to end the HIV epidemic must not ignore people already living with HIV
Efforts to prevent new HIV transmissions in the US must be accompanied by addressing HIV-associated comorbidities to improve the health of people already living with HIV, NIH experts assert in the third of a series of JAMA commentaries.

The Lancet HIV: Severe anti-LGBT legislations associated with lower testing and awareness of HIV in African countries
This first systematic review to investigate HIV testing, treatment and viral suppression in men who have sex with men in Africa finds that among the most recent studies (conducted after 2011) only half of men have been tested for HIV in the past 12 months.

The Lancet HIV: Tenfold increase in number of adolescents on HIV treatment in South Africa since 2010, but many still untreated
A new study of more than 700,000 one to 19-year olds being treated for HIV infection suggests a ten-fold increase in the number of adolescents aged 15 to 19 receiving HIV treatment in South Africa, according to results published in The Lancet HIV journal.

Starting HIV treatment in ERs may be key to ending HIV spread worldwide
In a follow-up study conducted in South Africa, Johns Hopkins Medicine researchers say they have evidence that hospital emergency departments (EDs) worldwide may be key strategic settings for curbing the spread of HIV infections in hard-to-reach populations if the EDs jump-start treatment and case management as well as diagnosis of the disease.

NIH HIV experts prioritize research to achieve sustained ART-free HIV remission
Achieving sustained remission of HIV without life-long antiretroviral therapy (ART) is a top HIV research priority, according to a new commentary in JAMA by experts at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), part of the National Institutes of Health.

The Lancet HIV: PrEP implementation is associated with a rapid decline in new HIV infections
Study from Australia is the first to evaluate a population-level roll-out of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) in men who have sex with men.

Researchers date 'hibernating' HIV strains, advancing BC's leadership in HIV cure research
Researchers have developed a novel way for dating 'hibernating' HIV strains, in an advancement for HIV cure research.

Read More: HIV News and HIV Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.