Nov 8, 2004
Let me preface this by saying I am a bisexual man who is not politically active. But here is my question. As a doctor, who assesses risks for his patients, and sets guidelines for the maintenance of long term health, isn't it just politics that prevent you from telling a young man that gay sex is a danger to his health? When you look at all the data, isn't it just clear that gay men are at a higher risk of health problems because they have sex with other men? Of course, we can say that condoms can make any sex safe, no matter what the activity. But even then, if a condom breaks (which they often do) then the receptive partner is at a higher risk of exposure to health threatening STIs if the insertive partner has had sex with other men, then if the insertive partner has only had sex with women. Any way you slice it, gay sex brings with it a much larger threat to one's health than straight sex. I mean, being totally honest, isn't this just common sense? And isn't all the toungue biting about this just a way to protect gay rights?
| Response from Dr. Conway
I think about it as relative risk and being informed. A monogamous relationship between two homosexual men who are not infected with HIV carries no risk of transmission of HIV. In contrast, a heterosexual man (or woman) who has multiple partners of unknown status is putting him/herself at very high risk of transmission of HIV.
So, politics quite aside, it is far more important to focus on the specific behaviors and the risk they carry for a given individual or couple rather than on a general statement about sexual orientation. HIV is transmitted from one individual to another and it is by concentrating on the individual and helping him/her make empowering decisions about sexual health that we will make the most difference.
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