A study in the US has reported a dramatic rise in unprotected sex gay and bisexual men are having but it has also found the rise is not a direct response to the increased use of PrEP mainly because the survey was conducted before the drug was readily available.
In the decade between 2005 and 2014, the number of HIV-negative gay and bisexual men who reported having sex without a condom rose from 29 percent to 41 percent.
The data was gathered by the US National HIV Behavioral Surveillance Survey, which was conducted in up to 21 cities in 2005, 2008, 2011, and 2014.
The survey asked more than a thousand men whether they used a condom with their last anal sex partner.
They found that declines in condom usage where seen across the board among men, whether or not their sexual partners were of the same HIV status and regardless of whether they knew their partners’ HIV status.
As part of the survey, respondents were asked about their use of PrEP which has long been suggested to be a trigger in men having unprotected sex.
The results show PrEP usage was reported by 0.5 percent of the gay and bi men in 2011.
That number only rose to 3.5 percent of men in 2014, making it highly unlikely that the HIV prevention protocol played a significant role in the decline of condom use.
HIV Plus Magazine had access to the overall report and printed researcher’s comments, “Our data suggests that condom use has decreased among [men who have sex with men] and that the trends are not explained by serosorting, seropositioning, PrEP use, or HIV treatment,” noted the researchers, who worried that “the benefits of [antiretrovirals] in reducing transmission of HIV” could be “undermined,” without increased promotion of condoms and access to PrEP.
While the condom usage of 1,000 to 1,500 men who have sex with men may not reflect the behavior of all gay and bi men, the decline in usage could actually be higher, due to the impact of the self-reporting bias (in which respondents often under-report behavior that could be interpreted negatively).
Mr Gay New Zealand Bernie Lee is currently the public face of a new campaign promoting the use of condoms, check it out.
Last Updated on Jun 1, 2016