Friday, March 6, 2009

Stigma drives HIV-positive gay men’s sexual risk-taking

via Aidsmap, by Roger Pebody

HIV-positive gay men’s experiences of stigma and rejection by sexual partners strongly influence their involvement in casual sex and discourage them from practicing many risk-reduction strategies, report Sigma Research in their Relative Safety II report published this week.

The men they interviewed wished to balance their desire for sexual pleasure with a need to maintain their sense of moral integrity, but were often unable to avoid sex that could result in HIV transmission...

... the majority of men actually rejected the idea of serosorting. It was associated in their minds with high-risk, esoteric practices, and in the words of one respondent, men who are “going spreading it round because they are shagging willy-nilly”. Many men were at pains to distance themselves from this behaviour. They were appalled by the idea that unprotected sex could ever be a regular or planned activity, and so rejected serosorting, strategic positioning, withdrawal before ejaculation and other risk-reduction strategies.

Nonetheless these same men had all had some unprotected sex. It tended to be described as an exceptional event, explained by circumstances such as substance use or a partner’s insistence. The researchers make it clear that a number of men lacked the self-confidence or negotiation skills to manage such situations. Many men aspired to use a condom every time, but were not able to fall back on risk-reduction strategies when, for whatever reason, condoms weren’t used....

Read the whole item.

[Above image from a 2007 Positive Nation story titled Disclosure Dilemmas]

1 comment:

  1. The article brings up a couple of interesting points about exactly what we are facing when it comes to dealing with this.

    Though I would say I have some reservations about the notion that the guys in question were "unable to avoid sex that could lead to infection".

    But I suppose maybe some of us need to work on building up self-confidence and negotiation to learn to turn down unsafe sex, which might change things.


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