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Young White Gay Men Fueling HIV’s Spread In Europe, Thanks to Bareback Sex

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Sarah Boseley, health editor, for guardian.co.uk on Monday 6th September 2010 23.00 UTC

The HIV epidemic in Europe, including the UK, is being fuelled by the risky behaviour of young gay men, according to research published today.

Public messages and campaigns about the dangers of unsafe sex do not appear to be getting through to men who have sex with men, the researchers say – particularly the young ones.

By investigating the genetic profile of the virus in more than 500 newly screened patients over nine years, scientists in Belgium have identified clusters of people with type B virus – not the one that is most prevalent in Africa.

Those infected are almost all white, male, gay and young, they say. These men also tend to have other sexual diseases, such as syphillis, which suggests that they are involved in unsafe sexual behaviour and are not using condoms.

The research was carried out by scientists at Ghent University in Belgium, and there is every indication that their findings hold true for the UK. Nick Partridge, the chief executive of the Terrence Higgins Trust, said that gay men were the group most at risk of HIV infection in the UK.

The Health Protection Agency (HPA), which monitors HIV numbers in the UK, warns every year of the rising rate of infections among men who have sex with men (MSM). In its last full report, for 2009, it said that the rate of infection among gay men remained high, even though there had been a slight overall drop.

HIV infection can go unnoticed for years, but the HPA report said one in five of those diagnosed had become infected within the previous six months – suggesting recent risky behaviour was to blame.

A 2008 report specifically on HIV among men who have sex with men said there were around 32,000 living with HIV in the UK. Just under half of all new diagnoses were among men who had sex with men, and 82% of the infections were probably acquired within the UK.

The Belgian researchers, Kristen Chalmet and colleagues from the Aids Reference Laboratory at Ghent University, found one “striking and alarming” cluster of cases. Over the nine years of the study, 57 men acquired genetically very similar viruses, they say. Eight of them did so in the last year. “Members of this cluster are significantly younger than the rest of the population and have more chlamydia and syphilis infections,” they write today, in the open access journal BioMed Central Infectious Diseases.

Even excluding that group from the study, there was still a relationship between HIV infection and contracting syphilis, which suggested risky sexual behaviour.

The study found two main types of HIV, but their analysis found that those infected with the two sub-types were “significantly different populations”. The vast majority of cases of infection within Belgium were sub-type B cases, and those infected were most often men who have sex with men. The non-B cases were more likely to be in heterosexuals and to have been acquired abroad.

“We clearly demonstrate that, despite the existence of prevention programmes, easily available testing facilities and a supposedly broad public awareness of the infection and its possible routes of transmission, MSM still account for the majority of local onward transmissions,” they write.

“Continuous efforts to sustain prevention programmes targeting MSM are definitely needed.”

Nick Partridge echoed the call for targeted campaigns. “Gay men are still the most at risk of HIV infection in the UK. We also know that more than a quarter of people with HIV in the UK are currently undiagnosed, and they’re far more likely to pass the virus on than those who know they have it.” “Targeted HIV prevention programmes are key to reducing the numbers of new infections each year. But we’d also argue for innovative testing services to better diagnose men who’ve been at most risk.”

Professor Pat Cane, head of the HPA’s antiviral unit, said work done in the UK with the Medical Research Council, “has shown that there are two predominant sources of HIV circulating in the UK at the moment – one in men who have sex with men (HIV1, sub-type B) and the other associated with sub-Saharan Africa (non B, HIV1).”

guardian.co.uk © Guardian News and Media Limited 2010

By:           Ryan Tedder
On:           Sep 7, 2010
Tagged: , , , ,

  • 40 Comments
    • whatever
      whatever

      No sex with Euros? Got it. Waay ahead of you.

      Sep 7, 2010 at 1:02 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Ken S
      Ken S

      More like “no sex with stupid idiots who think that they’re invulnerable and that smart, safe sex doesn’t apply to them” (unless you want to take changes with your own health).

      Sep 7, 2010 at 1:45 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Black Pegasus
      Black Pegasus

      What? White Gay Men FUCKING each other indiscriminately? Who knew? LOL

      I can’t believe Queerty actually posted this report.
      It’s a total 180 from their typical rantings against Gay/Bi Black Men. Is Queerty becoming Fair and Balanced? LOL

      Sep 7, 2010 at 1:54 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"
      Mike in Asheville, nee "in Brooklyn"

      Let’s not believe that there is a more significant problem in Europe than here in the US. Per the article, there are an estimated 32,000 HIV cases in the UK’s population of 61 million. Compare that to the US where there are an estimated 1.1 million cases among our population of 308 million.

      HIV cases in the UK are approximately 1 in 1900; in the US, its 1 in 280! That means there are 6.7 times more cases in the US per capita — yikes.

      ********

      Before bashing Europeans, there is a much more significant problem here in the US with a continuing growing infection rate, also particularly alarming that it is coming from the younger generation.

      ********

      Note to all those who think that HIV/AIDS is now a manageable disease so its okay to risk infection, “manageable” is a relative term. Sure its much much much easier to manage than it was 20 years ago. Today one need take a handful of anti-virals; at my most difficult time, I was taking 55 pills EVERY day.

      I have been HIV+ for likely 30 years; been taking anti-virals since 1994. Now at 50, and again, yes it is easier, it also sucks big time. Anti-virals are POISONS designed to kill particular cells and/or parts of cell; BUT IN THE PROCESS THEY KILL LOTS OF CELLS, LOTS OF PARTS OF CELLS, AND CAUSE ALL SORTS OF SIDE EFFECTS.

      There is facial wasting and bulging stomachs make me look ill; the regular bouts of diarrhea and GI problems are daily reminders of just how manageable this all is. Plus, there is the expense of maintaining health insurance, obtaining health insurance, quarterly check-ups, blood drawing, etc.

      And after 16 years of being on anti-virals, your body ages faster and you are older than your years. Think of all those anti-virals as consuming alcohol. Sure a drink here and there is no big deal, even a drink a day. But an equivalent amount as my anti-virals, say 4 drinks every day for 16 years and your kidney is pickled and your liver full of holes. I dread what another 10 years of anti-virals aging will have done to my then 60 year-old self.

      ***************

      Its not like there is a need to mix cum among cum; no babies! Gay sex is for fun; and enjoying gay sex is fun (if you’re gay and enjoy sex). But the reality is that gay sex is made up sex in the sense that we’re doing just for fun and sharing of intimacy. So use your imagination and create fun THAT IS SAFE!

      Sep 7, 2010 at 2:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Charlie
      Charlie

      Very very sad to hear. With all our communities resources spent on HIV prevention we should be doing a lot better. This is one reason I’d like to see barebacking de-emphasized in porn.

      Sep 7, 2010 at 2:12 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • caffesilvia
      caffesilvia

      I just don’t “get” people. I really don’t.

      Sep 7, 2010 at 2:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Debbie Downer
      Debbie Downer

      Feline Aids is the #1 killer of domestic cats…

      Sep 7, 2010 at 2:28 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • JJC
      JJC

      Mike,

      Thank you. I have to applaud you for that. Too many gay men are just not willing to stand up and speak the truth. I’m hearing 20-something talking about HIV as a “manageable condition like diabetes” (yes, actual quote) and not really having a sense of what’s in store for them if they seroconvert. I understand that it’s hard to see 50 from the 20 yo face a boy sees in the mirror, but our community really needs men like you to stand up and remind us that this isn’t as simple as just taking a pill.

      Sep 7, 2010 at 2:31 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael

      OMG, who’d have thought HIV is passed through unprotected sex among young gay men!

      Sep 7, 2010 at 2:58 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS
      PLAYS WELL WITH OTHERS

      First of all to those who have clicked “thumbs down” to Mike in Ashvilles brave brutally honest post: You are absolute scumbags……….

      Mike in Asheville, nee “in Brooklyn”: I give you absolute kudos for being so brave in making such a post. Your post should be required reading for every Gay person worldwide. I wish you the best…………..

      Sep 7, 2010 at 3:18 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Enron
      Enron

      Sigh, this is exactly what I am talking about. The reality has been lost on a lot of the young ones born over the past 20 years it seems. HIV/AIDS is still deadly, I repeat, HIV/AIDS is still deadly!

      Part of the problem is the nicely put “oh, HIV has become a Chronic thing that is very manageable’. The reality is, its no different from what it was in the 80’s when it ravaged the gay community. Its really scary, because if the message is out there and they are still not getting it, what can we really do?

      Taking toxic medicines to pro-long life as Mike notes is not something I think anyone wants to be part of their life. I fear there is either a belief that we are either on the thresh hold of finding a cure or young gay men do not care anymore. Also, I believe there is a lot self hate taking place, and from this self hate comes revenge a revenge that insist that everyone must go through what I am going through. Yes, there are individuals who still engage in unprotected sex who do not have this thinking, but yet they ignore the message.

      Sep 7, 2010 at 8:53 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Debbie Downer
      Debbie Downer

      Guess whose got eczema on their ass, making it excruciatingly painful to release already congested fecal matter? I do.

      Sep 7, 2010 at 10:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Queer Supremacist
      Queer Supremacist

      These boys are younger than me. It breaks my heart (yes, I have one) that with all the advances we have made that they become complacent and fatuous about the nature of HIV/AIDS. People like Mike need to keep telling it like it is. But I’m afraid it’s from his mouth to God’s ear.

      A condom is cheaper than a retroviral pill. The mild inconvenience of a sandwich wrapper on my dick is a small price to pay for peace of mind and not dying before my time. The only time it is wise to have sex without condoms is when you are in a monogamous relationship and you are both HIV negative and scrupulously faithful to one and other. This needs to be held up as the ideal.

      I knew about AIDS before I knew about homosexuality. It terrified me. That’s why I take care of my health in every way including sexually.

      And my mom has diabetes. It’s no picnic for her either.

      Sep 8, 2010 at 2:46 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • fagburn
      fagburn

      A letter commenting on this piece appears in The Guardian today…

      Many gay men in their 30s would be delighted to be called young (Young gay men ignoring safe sex, HIV study warns, 7 September). The youngest man in the study was 32, and the average age was 38. While young gay men are of course at risk, the majority of gay men with HIV are actually infected in their 30s and 40s.

      Nick Partridge

      Chief executive, Terrence Higgins Trust

      http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2010/sep/08/a-touch-of-class

      Sep 8, 2010 at 9:22 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      I find it offensive that The Guardian is demonizing the male homosexual orientation. Absolutely offensive. We should be coming down on the editors of this disreputable rag like a ton of bricks. They’re extremely homophobic in my opinion.

      What these newspapers should be saying is “promiscuous men”. Whether they’re white, black, gay, straight, bi etc is totally irrelevant. Diseases don’t affect promiscuous gay men on the basis of their gay orientation but on the basis of their promiscuity.

      I hope every single person reading this realizes the ugliness and subtlety of this form of media demonization of our sexual orientation. But it’s not just the media. It is also misguided gay twits in the various government-funded AIDS organizations who are contributing to the demonization of our orientation.

      Nick Partridge of the Terrence Higgins Trust needs to understand that venereal diseases don’t discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation but they do on the basis of promiscuity. It’s the promiscuity, stupid.

      Sep 8, 2010 at 9:55 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      Anti-virals are a waste of money. They were designed so as to scam gay men who refused to give up their promiscuous lifestyles. The best way to stay healthy is to avoid late nights, avoid drugs, and avoid sleazy men who are carriers of various exotic diseases, be it syphilis, gonorrhea, herpes etc etc.

      As I suggested in my previous post above, if you lead a poor lifestyle, you’ll pay the consequences. It’s got nothing to do with your sexual orientation but everything to do with your promiscuity.

      Sep 8, 2010 at 10:02 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • dm73
      dm73

      I grew up in the 80’s and remember the devastation that AIDS inflicted upon the community. Most of these kids weren’t born or were infants then. Thus it’s just another venereal disease for them.
      It become de rigeuer to use condoms. Not because it’s enjoyable but the consequences were much less so.
      Unfortunately, we may see those days again.

      Sep 8, 2010 at 12:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Debbie Downer
      Debbie Downer

      I went to get tested recently for HIV, but it was rather pointless considering I’m still a virgin because no one wants to see me naked. But the Doctor did find a strange mole on my back.
      Apparently, I’m flirting with the Melanoma. Not sure if
      that will affect my mercury levels, which my Docter also
      says has reached toxic proportions.

      Sep 8, 2010 at 3:34 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Daro
      Daro

      Its amazing how misinformed some people are in the gay community, do you lack common sense,or just too horny to give a fuck about ruining your life?

      Sep 8, 2010 at 11:43 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      @Black Pegasus:

      (sighs) until we start having rational conversations about what HIV is today, no one is going to believe us when we tell them its a terrible, awful, horrible, life destroying illness. That means being honest about what it *is NOT*, as well as what it *IS*. Scaring those who are “clean” with horror stories about “55 pills a day” is only going to make those who actually research the issue roll their eyes when they find out that most regimes are between 1-6 pills a day. Scare them about lipo issues if you want, but again, they’re going to find out sooner or later that this is increasingly a rarity, with many famous HIV docs declaring that its “not seen” in newer meds (it is still an issue, but this is the explicit public message). In the US, healthcare is increasingly accessible and to most middle income people who have access to a decent group/employee plan, hardly an overwhelming financial burden. Every time someone who has had the disease “for thirty years” recounts their experiences with medications from 1996, I wonder if you would also try to scare people away from syphilis infections with a description of mercury treatments. Using antiquidated informaiton to terrify people into safer behavior is unfortunante, because everyone with a brain knows its a crock of s**t. This allows those who want to believe its a “chronic, manageable condition” to continue to delude themselves.

      It is not, to be certain, a “chronic, manageable condition like diabetes”. The drugs…even the tolerable “new” ones, are poison. Our collective understanding of them is predicated on studies that rarely last more than three years from initial treatment, but many of the symptons…such as osteopeirosis…don’t appear until use has continued for nearly a decade Further, many of these drugs damage the organs. MANY who are infected with HIV find themselves jumping from regime to regime in a balancing act where they move to something that poisons, say, the kidneys because their liver can take no more. Thats if they’re lucky enough to have an open slate of treatment options. The numbers of people who have this “luxury” will dwindle as the number of resistant infections is increasing but the pipeline of new drugs to be available for use in the future has tapered off. Simply put, there is no long term plan for those who are infected. And then you have the neurocognitive complicatoins from HIV, where the unfortunante answer from the medical community is a simple glorification of “I don’t know”. For reasons no one really understands, those with HIV seem to be experiencing mental decline in increasing numbers. What research we have on the subject rarely points to similar patterns of brain damage between studies. Suffice it to say, we are decades away from any serious means of preserving the mental faculties of those with it. By that time, most of those with the virus…as well as most who will get it in coming years…will be screwed. Add to that the crushing stigma against those with HIV…including regular witch hunts in some areas and absurd prosecutions for potential “transmission” based on things like spitting and kissing…and its a pretty f*****g horrible thing to get. Making people aware of this *might* have an effect on their behaviors. Telling them about having to take AZT monotherapy every four hours surely will not.

      Sep 9, 2010 at 1:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Zaniell
      Zaniell

      turns out being asexual isn’t that bad! :X

      Sep 9, 2010 at 2:13 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tofer David
      Tofer David

      @Richard:
      Brilliant. You hit it. There is a significant difference for those who have been positive for thirty years and the medications they have taken over time. The impact of their previous taken medications over time is not and will not be the same as someone starting a medication now. The newly infected will not have taken the more harmful toxics. The present brain deterioration seen in positive patients is seen in those who have been on meeds for many years and again involving medications rarely prescribed. Either way most medications are toxic and will harm the body while fighting the disease over time.

      You cannot compare someone who started medications ten years ago to someone who starts tomorrow. Different experience.

      Sep 9, 2010 at 11:30 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      Bunch of dumb, nasty ass, tweeking, drunk and drug infested “bitches”; spreading AIDS, chlaymdydia, gonorrhead and everything. They think a magic pill is going to take care of everything.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 4:12 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      (cont) that have no respect for themselves or anyone else. I can’t believe people don’t care enough to take simple steps to prevent disease. And whatever happened to common sense? They’re just plain sickening, besides stupid.

      And I agree wholeheartedly with the other guy. The problem in the USA is ten fold if not more. The USA has the most cases of STDS…

      Sep 11, 2010 at 4:17 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      @Enron:

      They get it. They just pretend like they don’t. No one is that incredibly stupid, they’re just defiant, arrogant and careless.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 4:21 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      We are all the products of unprotected sex. Don’t ever forget it.

      The problem is promiscuity. Promiscuity is when you visit a sauna and have sexual contact with 5 or 6 strangers in one night. Promiscuity is when you fuck men other than the one you’ve committed to. Promiscuity is when you spend Friday night after Friday night at the same bar picking up a different man each time.

      It’s the promiscuity, stupid.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 9:14 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      @jason:

      Jason is correct. Its wrong to pretend that condoms can be used 100% of the time, that when used they are properly implemented 100% of the time and that they work 100% of the time when they are used correctly. It is wrong to pretend that oral sex doesn’t transmit the disease. The ten-ton gorilla in the living room is that the exclusive reliance upon “safer sex” as a means of prevention doesn’t do anything but slow the inevitable and give everyone a false sense of empowerment of the disease. Short of a cure or a vaccine, MAJOR lifestyle changes…more significant than nightly contributions to the durex corporation…are really the only way to halt the epidemic.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 11:20 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      @No. 26 Jason
      @No. 27 Richard

      No Richard, Jason is WRONG.

      Condoms can (and should) be used 100% of the time; if you are out or none available, then don’t fuck until you get some. The idea that one has to have sex irrespective of whether one has condoms available is idiotic. Our society frowns upon teen pregnancies and do not accept the excuse “but we didn’t have any rubbers.” So get off your ass and to the drug store, buy some Trojans, then go have sex.

      “Condoms don’t work 100% of the time.” Yes and NO. If you are old enough to have sex and buy rubbers, then you are old enough to learn how to use them correctly; for fuck’s sake your life may depend on it. And there is nothing wrong with pulling out here and there and a quick check that the rubber is in tact. If you want your hole beat to a frenzy, use a dildo.

      Oral sex does have its minor risks. But you don’t give/get blow jobs if you have open sores in/on mouth/cock.

      ***************

      If safe sex was not safe, then all gay men would be HIV+. Approximately 54% of US HIV+ are among gay/bi men. There are approximately 1.1 million HIV cases in the US. Kinsey reported that 37% of US males achieved orgasm at least once with another male (after adolescence). But using the more accepted 5%, there are (330 million x 5% x 50% [male]) = 8,250,000 US gay men. Thus, the infection rate among US gay men is approximately 7%.

      Safe sex DOES WORK. 93% of gay men in the US are HIV- because SAFE SEX WORKS.

      ***************

      “It’s the promiscuity, stupid.” WRONG WRONG WRONG. It’s not playing safe, stupid.

      Jason and Robert are equating that prevalent heavy duty sex lives mean stupid. They also equate that that prevalent heavy duty sex life mean ALWAYS HAVING UNSAFE SEX.

      It’s not having lots and lots of sex that is risky; it is having lots and lots of UNSAFE sex that is risky.

      93 out of 100 gay men are able to have and enjoy their sex lives, and some of those 93 have lots and lots of sex, without spreading HIV.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 1:41 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Michael
      Michael [Different person #1 using similar name]

      Condoms aren’t the answer. Don’t do anal. HIV transmission through oral sex is extremely low.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 1:42 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      Oh, and thanks to those for their kind comments about my post @No. 4. I am not being brave though, I have a genuine concern for the health (physical, social, equality, community) for my fellow LGBTs. I was shouting at the White Night riot/protest, a lesser member of ACT UP, contributor to Hawaii’s marriage equity efforts when they began the marriage fight, an OUTfest promoter, etc.

      More than that, I donated much time, effort, and fighting the AIDS fights on the 1980-90s; and, unfortunately, attending many funerals wondering when my time was ending too. It’s a horrible thing to have to experience, and I hope fewer and fewer of our community will under go that.

      Our community NEEDS honest stories and information.

      Playing safe means more than being safe personally. There are future generations popping up every 20 years. We are all the beneficiaries of the heroic efforts of those before us. The ones who went to jail for the cause from Oscar Wilde and Gertrude Stein to the Stonewall Rioters to ACT UP.

      In the 1980s and 90s, the gay community has made gay awareness such that society at-large not only accepts us more and more, many now see that our right to pursue our happiness is every bit as legitimate as everyone else’s rights.

      Building a healthier and healthier LGBT community is the very best of what our society should be. Promoting safe sex is an important aspect of the future strength of our community.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 2:00 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      @Mike in Asheville:

      You talk about the need for “honest stories” in our discussions. Ok, I’ll be “open and honest”. I contracted HIV. I do not recall a single instance of barebacking and far-fetched explanations of condom sabotage sound increasingly ridiculous to me. The infection occurred during a period of diminished sexual activity due to an increased volume of job-related work while I was attending grad school. My oral health is good. I did not drink or partake of drugs during the time leading up to my infection, so I did not simply *forget* about taking a load up my ass. Despite the fact that my complete STD panel has come up completely clean for EVERYTHING else and I’ve never been treated for any other sexually transmitted disease, the overwhelming response I’ve gotten from the “HIV establishment” has ranged from outright scoffing and eye rolling to condescending suggestions that I “try to focus my recollections”. As I’ve looked at the situation, I’ve seen this scenario repeated again and again, both in real life with friends who have it and on the internet. Recent infections are shocked at their diagnosis, claim they’ve never barebacked and stick to the story until they’ve been repeatedly counseled to “try to remember”. Outliers in oral sex risk studies are isolated and determined to have “probably engaged in something else”. People who swore they used condoms are asked if they really know what happened “behind their back”. When all else fails, we have vibrant urban legends about “malicious infectors” who walk around sabotaging condoms in bathhouses. No other public health campaign or social survey on Earth would be accepted with this degree of observer manipulation, but for some reason we don’t blink an eye when we see it in studies of sexual behavior.

      Who knows how I got it. It wouldn’t really matter except I followed all the rules, and am now categorized with methamphetamine addicts and bug chasers, which hurts me a lot. It also hurts the intentions of everyone out there trying to remain HIV negative. It seems that there truly is no such thing as “safe sex”. You load your response with dismissal directed at those who fail to properly use condoms, but I’ve got news for you dude…that’s apparently a LARGE percentage of condom users. You say that if someone isn’t ready to use condoms, they’re not ready for sex…that statemetn does nothing to actually address the spread of the disease, it just makes those who think they are being “safe” feel better about themselves. Its fallacious arguing at its worst.

      We’re perfectly comfortable admitting that in the course of heterosexual relationships, condoms don’t work perfectly for a variety of reasons. Thats why we developed birth control, female condoms, spermacides, sponges, caps, depo implants, etc. For some reason, we expect the things to be completely different amongst homosexual sex. Its not. Sex is messy. People forget, the things break, and honestly, theres very little reason to think they’re 100% effective when things go as planned. Even the condom companies seem to refrain from quantifying HOW MUCH they reduce the risk of transmission. If you tell people they can have as much sex as they want as long as they wear a condom, you set them up for failure.

      Your bizarre equation of homosexual activity mistakes same-sex activity for potential exposure, it mistakes exposure for transmission and it frankly makes no sense. No one really knows exactly how many HIV infections there are in the US, with the “1.1 million figure” being commonly cited from 2007 and drawing upon a sample of 37 states, not an absolute count of infections. It does not estimate the number of infections we have NOW, and it was published before widespread accusations of HIV+ undercounting. Further, I don’t know what magic formula you used to conclude that “5% of the population is gay”, but again, no one really knows, In 2000 the US census bureau concluded that around 1% of US households were homosexual. In short, your numerator is too low, your denominator too high and your estimation of gay seroprevalence is wildly optimistic. MOST conservative estimates I’ve read conclude 12% of homosexual men are HIV positive, with some citing seroprevalence rates of up to 30% in major population centers. And lets not forget, the numbers increase every year. Even your “1.1 million” figure suggested an increase of about 40k infections a year, meaning that even your conservative number has increased by more than 10% since the data was taken. I challenge anyone who thinks that the disease is “that rare” amongst sexually promiscuous gay men to log onto Adam4Adam…RIGHT NOW…and do a filtered search for men in their city who report their status as “don’t know, positive or not listed”. Record this number. Then, do a search for all men in their city. Record this number. Divide the first number by the second number. THAT percentage…which likely doesn’t include those who are outright lying or truly mistaken about their status…should give you an idea of how widespread this virus really is. I’d bet money that even in the most vacant flyover, your number is going to be much higher than “seven percent”. Extra credit for anyone who bothers to see how that percentage increases by age cohort.

      Why does all this matter? Because apparently I’m not the only one who contracted a fatal disease based the mistaken notion that you could suck a lot of dicks and rely upon a cheap peice of rubber to for protection. Because undercounting the number of positive gay men understates the risk in gay sex, and the entire picture that the disease is easily preventable marginalizes those unlucky enough to test poz as being a bunch of idiots who couldn’t be bothered to save themselves. It matters because the disease is STILL an awful, fatal disease, and we need a new paradigm to actually combat it. Monogamy? “creative nonpenetrative activities”? I don’t know. Just stop killing people with the delusion that their Trojans and saliva are failsafe.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 3:29 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Tackle
      Tackle

      @ RICHARD.
      Wow!!
      I’m speachless…
      Ok, let me compose myself. This hits close to home. One of my close friends like you always pratciced what is known as safe sex. He as a bottom always having the tops use a condom. Clean for all other STD’s. But during a time when his immune system was weak, due to pheumoina, had bloodwork done and was told he’s HIV poz. And also I was told that even with safe sex, the bottom should wait atleast a week: (seven days) after activity to get a HIV test. Reason? because the body could go into autobody immune defense due to the lube/lubricant/vasiline ect. Recogniziing these as foreign substance within the body, and sometimes causing a fale antibody test.

      So yes, there must be other factors…

      Sep 11, 2010 at 5:39 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • jason
      jason

      It looks like promiscuity is too much fun for many of you. Your involvement in the gay male social scene is mainly due to the promiscuity it offers. You’re truly no different from straight guys who spend every weekend at titty bars.

      Promiscuity drives you. You seek to avoid the consequences of that promiscuity by pushing the need for condoms and safe sex. It’s as if condoms and safe sex somehow justify your promiscuous behavior.

      Sep 11, 2010 at 6:40 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Mike in Asheville
      Mike in Asheville

      @ No. 31 Richard

      Per Disraeli: “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damn lies, and statistics.”

      Your statistics are waaaaaaaaaaaay off.

      US Bureau of Statistics, American Community Survey results from 2006 estimate there are 8,854,000 ADULT GLBs in the US. The estimated adult population of the US in 2006 was 220 million: therefore, the estimate percentage of ADULT Americans identifying themselves as GLB to the GOVERNMENT was 8.854/220 = 4.024% AND THAT IS BASED ON THOSE WHO SELF IDENTIFIED AS GLB TO THE GOVERNMENT. I emphasize the “TO THE GOVERNMENT” because there are many too timid and afraid that the government will not maintain confidentiality and those afraid to admit to any stranger/outsider their private sexual identity.

      Separate out gay men and lesbians, estimated 70% of the 8,854,000 GLBs are male, or 6,197,800 estimated adult gay male population.

      Thus, the estimated percentage of adult men in the US self identifying as gay is 6,197,800 / 109 million = 5.68%.

      The available data for HIV infection rates and the Census Bureau AMC GLB rates are from same time frame.

      HIV+ infections 1.1 million x 54% MSM = 594,000. Thus, the infection rate among adult gay men in the US is 594,000 / 6,197,800 = 9.58% (I used 7% in post No. 28 based on total population, however, using adult population provides a more accurate picture.)

      ****************

      I’ll state it again this way: if condoms are not effective in controlling the HIV infection rate among gay men, then there would be many many more infected.

      Sep 12, 2010 at 1:05 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Richard
      Richard

      Ok, look, we can debate the number of gay Americans all day long, but when the dust settles, you’re arguing against a claim I’m not making with a non-statement. I never said that condoms “weren’t effective” in controlling HIV, I just stated that they were far from foolproof and that you’re setting people up for failure if you lead them to believe they are. I strongly urge those who are sexually active to use condoms rather than not. Asserting that there would be “many more infected if they weren’t effective” does nothing to establish *how* effective they are, or whether or not the current model of “fuck until you’re blue in the face and you’ll be fine as long as you wear rubbers” should be fostered in lieu of more meaningful lifestyle changes. You could make the same statement about the “pull out” method as a means of HIV prevention, that doesn’t mean that I’d urge young gay men practice it. As for the actual infection rate for gay men…The fact that you’re creating your own statistics when there are numerous professional estimates diminishes the reliability of your arguement that this is an easily avoidable disease, evidenced by those who don’t have it. Your inability to even stick to a number weakens your legitimacy even more. I don’t know what vested interest you have in the “HIV isn’t a gay problem and we can easily avoid it with latex” camp, but you’re doing others a disservice by promoting it.

      ***To those of you reading this discussion and trying to make a meaningful decision as to what actually constitutes “safe” behavior, I’m going to boil it down as simply as possible. The United States has a MAJOR HIV problem, as demonstrated by the fact that even the sunniest estimates point to large jumps in infection rates. Whether we like it or not, the problem is disproportionately concentrated among gay men. You cannot suck hundreds of cocks and repeatedly get fucked by total strangers and hope to stay negative, even if you wear condoms. This is because you cannot account for all the variables that you will encounter in the bedroom. You can either take my word for it, or take the word of a gentleman who makes up his own statistics. The choice is yours.

      Sep 12, 2010 at 11:03 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      It’s strange how complicated everyone wants to make this. Some blame it on a lack of education, some blame it on big pharma, some blame it on condom manufacturers. Uhh, reality check.. Who said condoms are 100% safe and effective? They aren’t and never will be. One out of every size anal sexual encounters with a condom fails-guaranteed. And condoms were never designed for anal sex

      These FOOLS that have unprotected sex never want to place the blame on themselves. If I played in a sewer or trash dump I’d probably get diseases too. How is anal sex any different? There’s always microscopic pathogens you can’t see

      And what’s really laughable about these people is they think they can do their meth, cocaine, weed, drink all the alcohol they want, sniff their poppers, glue and then have condomless sex and everything will be hunky dory. THEY DON’T CARE. For many of us it’s hard to understand how people think this way, but there are many.

      Sep 13, 2010 at 9:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      @jason: This is not true, because even though I always use condoms, I’ll be the first to admit they are not fun to use, and in no way increase the pleasurable experience.

      And the trend is on the rise in the gay community to not use condoms. If you want to use condoms, they don’t even want to talk to you. Bottoms hate them because they claim they scratch and hurt.

      Try this comparison. Put a lubed condom on your finger and rub it over your arm. Next, do the same with a bare lubed finger. The bare lubed finger will feel comfortable much longer.

      So your notion that condoms justify promiscuity is ridiculous. What they do help with is the idea of safety,responsibility and etiquette.

      Sep 13, 2010 at 9:25 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Bobby
      Bobby

      @BlogShag:

      “bottoms hate them because they claim they scratch and hurt”

      I think you’re mistaking a sheathed penis for a gerbil.

      Sep 14, 2010 at 12:23 am · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • BlogShag
      BlogShag

      @Bobby: Your snide remark would be funny if it weren’t for the fact you’re in so much denial. If bottoms don’t mind condoms, then why don’t they let guys use them?

      If you haven’t seen the trend of BareBack Only, you must be living under a rock.

      Sep 18, 2010 at 11:16 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·
    • Isaac C
      Isaac C

      Richard and jason, I agree with all of your comments. BlogShag, too.

      Jan 21, 2012 at 6:23 pm · @ReplyReply to this comment ·

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