Prevalence of 'risky' sex among gay men doubled in Scotland over six years

September 28, 2005

The prevalence of "risky" sex in Scotland has doubled in the space of six years, while unfounded confidence in the HIV negative status of casual partners has also increased, reveals research in Sexually Transmitted Infections.

The findings are based on serial surveys of 6500 men in Edinburgh and Glasgow, who visited a selection of gay bars in the two cities.

The men were questioned about their sexual behaviour as well as their attitudes to HIV infection and its treatment in 1996, 1999, and 2002.

Around two thirds of the respondents were 26 or older, and four out of 10 said they visited gay bars once or twice a week. The results showed that there was no significant change in behaviour between 1996 and 1999, but between 1999 and 2002, rates of unprotected anal sex rose 10%, as did levels of the activity with casual or multiple partners.

In 1996, almost 11% of those surveyed said they had unprotected anal sex with casual partners. By 2002, this figure was almost 19%.

The likelihood of unprotected sex with casual partners was greater among those men who said they visited gay bars frequently and those who agreed with the statement: "I am less worried about HIV infection now that treatments have improved."

Among those men who took an HIV test, only around one in five claimed that they "always" knew the HIV status of their casual partners.

While many researchers have reported that increasing optimism about the effectiveness of treatment has increased risky sexual behaviour among gay men, closer analysis of the findings showed that this did not fully explain the trends.

The increasing prevalence of unprotected anal sex with casual partners was actually higher among those who were not optimistic about HIV treatment.

The findings prompt the authors to call for renewed national efforts to spread the public health message about the need for HIV prevention to counteract "prevention fatigue."
-end-


BMJ Specialty Journals

Related HIV Infection Articles from Brightsurf:

Scientists pinpoint new mechanism that impacts HIV infection
A team of scientists led by Texas Biomed's Assistant Professor Smita Kulkarni, Ph.D. and Mary Carrington, Ph.D., at the Frederick National Laboratory for Cancer Research, published results of a study that pinpointed a long noncoding RNA molecule which influences a key receptor involved in HIV infection and progression of the disease.

HIV: Reprogramming cells to control infection
Following research on cohorts, scientists from the Institut Pasteur have described the characteristics of CD8 immune cells in these 'HIV controller' subjects.

USPSTF recommendation on screening for HIV infection
The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recommends screening for HIV infection in adolescents and adults ages 15 to 65; in those younger or older at increased risk of infection; and in all pregnant people.

HIV/tuberculosis co-infection: Tunneling towards better diagnosis
1.2 million people in the world are co-infected by the bacteria which causes tuberculosis and AIDS.

HIV vaccine protects non-human primates from infection
New research shows that an experimental HIV vaccine strategy works in non-human primates.

New guidelines for treatment and prevention of HIV infection in adults
Experts have updated recommendations for the use of antiretroviral drugs in the treatment and prevention of HIV infection.

Updated recommendations for treating, preventing HIV infection
A volunteer panel of experts in HIV research and patient care evaluated new data and treatments to update recommendations from the International Antiviral Society-USA for the use of antiretroviral drugs in this special communication article.

Tracking down T cell targets to tamp down HIV infection
Scientists have narrowed in on a group of gut-residing immune cells that might predispose women to increased HIV infection risk and more severe disease.

Two antibodies are better than one for preventing HIV infection
A cocktail of two broadly-neutralizing HIV-1 antibodies (bNAbs) protected primates against infection with a mixed population of HIV viruses -- conditions that mimic real-world transmission -- researchers report.

Novel approach to track HIV infection
Scientists used a novel live-cell fluorescent imaging system that allowed them for the first time to identify individual viral particles associated with HIV infection.

Read More: HIV Infection News and HIV Infection 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.