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One-Third of HIV-Infected Gay Men Have Unsafe Sex: CDC
Date:12/3/2007

Two new U.S. government studies show strong link to recreational drugs as well.

MONDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Two new U.S. studies of gay and bisexual men who know they are infected with HIV show that more than one-third have recently had unprotected intercourse.

In many cases, these men are engaging in unprotected sex with other HIV-infected men -- a practice called "serosorting," where partners with a similar, HIV-positive blood test status decide to forego condoms.

However, "we also found that almost a third of the men -- 31.4 percent -- said that they had had unprotected anal intercourse with at least one partner of unknown serostatus, and almost a quarter had unprotected intercourse with a partner who they knew was HIV uninfected," said the lead author of one of the studies, Dr. Kenneth Mayer, medical research director at Fenway Community Health, in Boston.

He and other researchers in HIV/AIDS presented their findings during a teleconference Monday, part of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National HIV Prevention Conference, in Atlanta.

"There are now more than one million people estimated to be living with HIV in the United States, more than ever before," said Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention.

He also noted that half of all U.S. cases of HIV infection still occur among "men who have sex with men" (MSM), the CDC's umbrella term for gay and bisexual men, as well as men who may not identify as such but engage in male-male sexual activity.

And, Mayer added, unsafe sex was strongly linked to the use of recreational drugs, particularly methamphetamine, and was 60 percent more likely among younger men than older men.

The HIV epidemic in the United States may, in fact, be on the rise. According to recent media reports, sources close to CDC statisticians say that the annual ra
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