CDC: Unsafe Sex Common for HIV+ Men
After HIV Infection, 35% of Men Who Have Sex with Men Continue Unsafe Sex
WebMD News Archive
35% of HIV+ MSM Have Unsafe Sex continued...
This practice, called serosorting, is not truly safe. While it does prevent
infection of uninfected partners, the practice spreads sexually transmitted
diseases such as syphilis and gonorrhea. And
even though a person already has HIV, that person can still catch a second,
potentially more dangerous HIV strain.
One in 10 HIV-positive men in the Crepaz study and 23% of the HIV-positive
men in the Mayer study reported unsafe sex with partners they knew to be
HIV-negative. This suggests that men who know they carry HIV are less likely to
have unprotected sex with uninfected partners if these partners have had a
recent HIV test.
On the other hand, men seem to behave badly with men they meet on the
Internet than they do when they meet at bars or gay-oriented events. Nearly
two-thirds of MSM recruited online reported recent unsafe sex in the Crepaz
And the Mayer team found that men who reported substance use -- particularly
methamphetamines -- were three times more likely to have a sexually transmitted
disease (syphilis in nearly 80% of cases).
"This study really underscores the continued need for positive
protection methods for men," Fenton said.
Fenton also called attention to a troubling study by CDC researcher Kate
Buchacz, PhD, MPH, and colleagues.
The Buchacz study showed that half of MSM diagnosed with syphilis at STD clinics in three major cities -- Atlanta, San
Francisco, and Los Angeles -- were also infected with HIV.
Each year, studies suggest, 3% to 4% of U.S. MSM get HIV. But Buchacz and
colleagues found that more than 10% of men with syphilis infections had recent
HIV infections, too.
"Syphilis in the U.S. is overwhelmingly concentrated in MSM," Fenton
said. "This demonstrates the need for routine HIV testing and investigation
of HIV-positive men for syphilis infection."
African-American MSM: Surprising New Data
The U.S. HIV epidemic first appeared among MSM -- and almost half of U.S.
HIV infections are among MSM.
But America's HIV epidemic is vastly worse for African Americans than for
any other racial or ethnic group. Half of U.S. HIV infections are among African
Americans. And African-American men are seven times more likely to have HIV
than white men are.