Friday, May 1, 2009
Alternatives to condom use can help reduce HIV transmission among gay men
via Fridae - empowering gay Asia - by Jan Wijngaarden
The HIV epidemic among gay men in Asia is continuing to grow. 30.7 percent of Thai men who have sex with men are now infected with HIV in Bangkok; in Cambodia, Vietnam and Indonesia between 5-10 percent of men who have sex with men have HIV. In a cross-sectional study among MSM in Taipei in 2004, the HIV prevalence was 8.5 percent; in Singapore in 2007, 4.2 percent; and in Hong Kong in 2006-7, 4.1 percent. In most places our transgender sisters are even harder hit.
And that while transmission of HIV is quite hard, with a relatively low per-contact-transmission chance – HIV is much less efficient than other viruses, such as the ones causing flu or measles. Preventing HIV is relatively simple – covering our favorite organ with a 0.06 mm thick coating whenever we have anal sex...
Yes indeed, I am talking about condoms. So why are – even in places were significant numbers of men are infected with HIV – significant numbers of men still not using condoms? Are they not thinking clearly or what?
Well – perhaps so. A recent study from Sydney, Australia that appeared in the AIDS journal earlier this year (Jin F, Crawford J, Prestage GP et al, 2009) found that even when men do not use condoms, they still employ certain strategies to reduce their risk for HIV infection (or for transmitting HIV to their partners, if they are already HIV positive). Three of these strategies were found to reduce the chance of getting HIV significantly, compared to men who did not use any strategy (and no condoms).
These strategies are not as effective and not as safe as always using condoms, but nevertheless, they are protective.
What were these strategies?
Read the rest.
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