A study released by England’s Health Protection Agency indicates the number of gay and bisexual men contracting HIV has risen over the past two decades, because of an increase in unsafe sex.
Between 1990 and 2010, the number of men barebacking rose by 26%, the study claims.
On the upside, the introduction and more consistent use of antiretroviral drugs has been a boon: Without them, it’s estimated the number of infections would have been 68% worse.
In November, HPA reported the number of people living with HIV in the UK reached an all-time high of 96,000, but that a full quarter of those infected were unaware of their status.
“Everyone should use a condom when having sex with new or casual partners, until all partners have had a sexual health screen,” says the HPA’s Dr Valerie Delpech. “We also encourage men who have sex with men to get an HIV and STI screen at least annually, and every three months if having condomless sex with new or casual partners.”