Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Increase in serodiscordant casual sex among Sydney gay men at a time when HIV diagnoses have not increased

via Aidsmap

Between 2003 and 2006, there was an increase in the numbers of HIV-negative gay men in Sydney who reported having unprotected anal intercourse with casual HIV-positive partners, report researchers in the online edition of AIDS and Behavior. However the researchers do not believe that these men form "a core group of high risk men".

Iryna Zablotska and her colleagues from the University of New South Wales analysed data from two cohort studies among Sydney gay and bisexual men: the Positive Health cohort of 760 HIV-positive men, and the Health in Men cohort of 1427 HIV-negative men. Both studies asked identical questions about sexual behaviour in annual surveys from 2003 to 2006, including questions on sex with partners of a different HIV status (rather than, as in some other studies, sex which could have been with a partner of a different HIV status).

Among the HIV-negative men, whilst the number having sex with casual partners decreased from survey to survey, there were small but statistically significant increases in the numbers having serodiscordant sex. Those having sex with casual partners they believed to be HIV positive rose from 11% to 13%, and the number specifically having unprotected anal intercourse with those men increased from 3% to 4%.

The number of HIV-positive men reporting serodiscordant casual partners did rise, but there was no statistically significant rise in unprotected anal intercourse with them.

The study examined a number of behaviours that have been previously found to be associated with sexual risk-taking, and confirmed that serodiscordant unprotected anal intercourse with casual partners was more common among men with higher numbers of sexual partners, men who met partners online or in sex clubs, Viagra users, those who injected drugs, men who used 'party' drugs regularly and those having ‘esoteric’ sexual practices (fisting, sex toys, water sports, bondage etc).

However the researchers note that men who had risky sex did not do so consistently. Over 85% of the men who reported having serodiscordant unprotected anal intercourse only reported it at one of their annual interviews, and they typically reported that behaviour with just one or two partners in the previous six months.

Read the rest on Aidsmap.

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