In the past couple days, I’ve encountered two interesting news articles pertaining to current trends in HIV epidemiology among men who have sex with men.
Science Daily has published the article “Lack Of HIV Prevention For Male Sex Workers In The Caribbean Could Fuel AIDS Epidemic.”
The following two paragraphs are a quotation from the article:
“Male sex tourists, largely from the United States and Europe, may be fueling an HIV/AIDS epidemic in the Caribbean, and efforts to stop the epidemic will be severely hampered unless HIV prevention dollars are diverted to help male prostitutes, a new study suggests.
“Additionally, the study should serve as call to action for the tourism industry to implement HIV/AIDS prevention programs for tourists and tourism employees, said assistant professor Mark Padilla of the University of Michigan School of Public Health. The Caribbean is second only to sub-Saharan Africa in HIV/AIDS cases. The disease has been described as primarily heterosexual, Padilla said. However, Padilla's book shows that sexual contact between Caribbean male sex workers and male tourists may be a much larger contributor to the HIV/AIDS epidemic there than previously thought. Currently, prevention dollars in the Caribbean serve primarily heterosexuals, and this particular population of male sex workers who have sex with tourists is largely neglected. That population of male prostitutes grows larger as the traditional, agricultural jobs dry up. Funding comes from a variety of sources: governments, multilateral organizations such as the World Health Organization, and private foundations.”
The Oregonian has published “Guessing about HIV may keep epidemic going.” The following are quotations from the article:
“More than two decades after the first warnings that condoms prevent the spread of HIV, an increasing number of gay men are instead betting their lives on vague conversations and verbal assurances from their partner before having unprotected sex.
“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that nationally, the number of HIV and AIDS diagnoses among men who have sex with men increased 11 percent from 2001 to 2005. Researchers in Oregon and elsewhere say one reason could be that men attempt to sort themselves. HIV-positive men limit their partners to others with HIV; those without the disease avoid sex with those who have it. But some experts say it's more of a guessing game because too few men directly ask or answer, "Do you have HIV?"
“Serosorting is a shaky prevention strategy for healthy men, not so much because men lie to their sexual partners -- most don't, especially not those who are HIV positive. Instead, HIV prevention specialists say, men afraid of rejection or who are embarrassed to talk about sex dance around the topic, behavior also seen in heterosexuals. Gay and bisexual men might drop hints about taking medication, for example, and hope their partner understands they mean HIV medications.
“Some men, aware that anal sex is riskiest for the receptive partner, assume it's that person's responsibility to ask for a condom. Other men who say they're negative cite outdated HIV test results. And 1 in 4 people infected with HIV doesn't know it.”