United States: Among Gays, Young Partiers Spread HIV -- Study
August 8, 2008
Young gay and bisexual men who binge drink and abuse drugs are more likely to transmit HIV to others, partly explaining HIV's growth in that population, US researchers told the 17th International AIDS Conference in Mexico City Thursday. Men who have sex with men (MSM) accounted for 53 percent of new HIV infections in the United States in 2006, according to CDC.
Among 200 HIV-positive gay and bisexual US men in the study, 57 percent were receiving treatment for the virus, and half reported unprotected anal sex that classified them as "high-risk HIV transmitters." Three-quarters of the men were white, and more than half were college-educated.
In the previous three months, 65 percent had used drugs such as methamphetamine, and a quarter had consumed five or more alcoholic drinks in one day. About 12 percent had been diagnosed with an STD in the past year.
"When one drinks or uses other substances, inhibitions are lowered, making people more likely to engage in risky behavior like unprotected sex," said Dr. Kenneth Mayer, an infectious-disease specialist at Brown University. "This is particularly true for young people, who often take risks without thinking about the consequences."
"What it shows is the task of prevention is a permanent one. Every generation has to start [learning] again," said Mukesh Kapila of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies. "Within the community of [MSM], the new generation would not have been through the 1980s and 1990s, and they wouldn't have the high levels of awareness that the previous generations have," he said. "And [they have] the feeling perhaps that treatment is available, that maybe it's not such a fatal condition anymore."
08.07.2008; Tan Ee Lyn
This article was provided by CDC National Prevention Information Network. It is a part of the publication CDC HIV/Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update.