Homosexuality: Is this true?

Question

In a question from 2002, Dr. Ryan wrote this: "Plenty of heterosexual people in the U.S. have anal sex with each other, and are at much less risk for HIV infection than gay men having anal sex. If that same heterosexual person had anal sex in, say, sub-Saharan Africa where the rates of infection among heterosexuals are much higher, the odds of that person getting infected with HIV increase tremendously."

So, if this is true it means that in the end, at least in the US there is a greater risk for MSM to acquire HIV than it is for heterosexual men from the same kind of behavior (i.e. anal sex).

Can you try to explain Dr. Ryan's answer??

I don't like the idea of a gay disease, but frankly I would be a little less paranoid about HIV as an heterosexual (horny) man if it is confirmed that heterosexual transmission is actually less likely than homosexual transmission (at least in the US). To be fair I can't imagine how this would be possible from the same behaviors...

Answer

Hi,

I think you may have missed the entire point Ryan was trying to make! The level of risk is related to the sexual activity and not to sexual orientation. If an HIV-negative straight dude has unprotected anal sex with an HIV-positive woman, the risk of acquiring the virus is exactly the same as if an HIV-negative gay man has unprotected anal sex with an HIV-positive male partner. The point Ryan was making is that proportionally speaking there are more HIV-infected gay men than HIV-infected straight women in the US. So if an HIV-negative guy decides to dip his wick in a gay man rather than a straight woman, statistically speaking he's more likely to encounter HIV. This information should not in any way decrease your vigilance in regard to using condoms for all penetrative sex, because there are plenty of HIV-positive women in this country as well. The bottom line is unprotected sex is risky business whether gay, straight, bi-curious or closeted Tea-Party Republican.

Dr. Bob