Geneva, Switzerland -- Half of the young gay men who participated in a University of California San Francisco study were engaging in high-risk sex activities, many with a partner of differing or unknown HIV status.
Research findings showed unprotected anal intercourse among young gay men has increased by 50 percent since 1992, said Maria Ekstrand, PhD, a research scientist with the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, in a presentation today (June 30) at the 12th World AIDS Conference.
In a related presentation today, Dennis Osmond, PhD, UCSF associate professor of epidemiology and biostatistics, reported that this increased risk behavior has not yet led to increased rates of infection. The rates are high enough, however, to lead to substantial numbers of infected gay men as they get older. Both presentations are based on an ongoing research project called the San Francisco Young Men's Health Study. Osmond is the principal investigator.
As part of this project, Ekstrand, Osmond, and their colleagues annually surveyed 510 gay or bisexual men from 1992-97. All the men were between the ages of 18 and 29 in 1992. The men responded to questions about their HIV status, sexual behaviors, alcohol and drug use, their thoughts and feelings about the AIDS epidemic and their last instance of unprotected intercourse. The researchers found that in 1996, 51 percent of respondents had either insertive or receptive unprotected anal intercourse, up from 37 percent in 1992.
"We found these increases very alarming," Ekstrand said. "We didn't start out looking for this. Usually when a group of men is followed over time their risk goes down, because the questionnaire itself is an intervention, causing the respondents to reflect on their sexual behavior on a regular basis."
Less than a third of the men reported having no instances of unprotected anal
intercourse since 1992. The researchers found that men who reported unprotected
anal intercourse with a partn
Contact: Mitzi Baker
University of California - San Francisco