New CDC study: 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive have unprotected sex with men

CNS News reports on the latest numbers from the Center for Disease Control, which is a department within the U.S. Federal government.

Excerpt:

Sixty-two percent of American men who know they are HIV positive continue to have unprotected anal sex, according to data released last week by the federal Centers for Disease Control.

This data, which was published Friday, came from the federal government’s National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System.

The percentage of self-aware HIV-positive men who engage in unprotected anal sex has been increasing, according to the CDC. In 2005, 55 percent did so. In 2008, 57 percent did so. And, in 2011, 62 percent did so.

“Unprotected anal sex is a high-risk practice for HIV infection, with receptive anal sex having the highest risk,” said the CDC report. “Unprotected anal sex also places MSM at risk for other sexually transmitted infections such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. Although condoms can reduce the risk for HIV transmission, they do not eliminate risk and often are not used consistently. Some MSM attempt to decrease their HIV risk by engaging in unprotected sex only with partners perceived to have the same HIV status as their own. However, this practice is risky, especially for HIV-negative MSM, because MSM with HIV might not know or disclose that they are infected and men’s assumptions about the HIV status of their partners can be wrong.”

Now this is going to be contained if men who have sex with men are relatively monogamous, but are they?

The Family Research Council has published a paper that links to mainstream secular sources that notes that gay men tend to have a far more loose notion of monogamy than men in heterosexual relationships.

Look:

Lest anyone suffer the illusion that any equivalency between the sexual practices of homosexual relationships and traditional marriage exists, the statistics regarding sexual fidelity within marriage are revealing:

Married couples

  • A nationally representative survey of 884 men and 1,288 women published in the Journal of Sex Research found that 77 percent of married men and 88 percent of married women had remained faithful to their marriage vows.[9]
  • A 1997 national survey appearing in The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States found that 75 percent of husbands and 85 percent of wives never had sexual relations outside of marriage.[10]

[…]Research indicates that the average male homosexual has hundreds of sex partners in his lifetime:

  • The Dutch study of partnered homosexuals, which was published in the journal AIDS, found that men with a steady partner had an average of eight sexual partners per year.[12]
  • Bell and Weinberg, in their classic study of male and female homosexuality, found that 43 percent of white male homosexuals had sex with 500 or more partners, with 28 percent having one thousand or more sex partners.[13]
  • In their study of the sexual profiles of 2,583 older homosexuals published in the Journal of Sex Research, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that “the modal range for number of sexual partners ever [of homosexuals] was 101-500.” In addition, 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent had between 501 and 1,000 partners. A further 10.2 percent to 15.7 percent reported having had more than one thousand lifetime sexual partners.[14]

Even in those homosexual relationships in which the partners consider themselves to be in a committed relationship, the meaning of “committed” or “monogamous” typically means something radically different than in heterosexual marriage.

  • A Canadian study of homosexual men who had been in committed relationships lasting longer than one year found that only 25 percent of those interviewed reported being monogamous.” According to study author Barry Adam, “Gay culture allows men to explore different…forms of relationships besides the monogamy coveted by heterosexuals.”[16]
  • The Handbook of Family Diversity reported a study in which “many self-described ‘monogamous’ couples reported an average of three to five partners in the past year. Blasband and Peplau (1985) observed a similar pattern.”[17]

[…]In their Journal of Sex Research study of the sexual practices of older homosexual men, Paul Van de Ven et al. found that only 2.7 percent of older homosexuals had only one sexual partner in their lifetime.[19]

Now, all the footnotes in that quotation above go to mainstream sources, so it’s no use complaining about the Family Research Council cataloguing them – they didn’t publish those research papers, they’re just citing them to make a point that everyone researching in the field already knows.

Take a closer look:

9. Michael W. Wiederman, “Extramarital Sex: Prevalence and Correlates in a National Survey,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 170.

10. E. O. Laumann et al., The Social Organization of Sexuality: Sexual Practices in the United States (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1994 ): 216.

12. Maria Xiridou, et al, “The Contribution of Steady and Casual Partnerships to the Incidence of HIV Infection among Homosexual Men in Amsterdam,” AIDS 17 (2003): 1031.

13. A. P. Bell and M. S. Weinberg, Homosexualities: A Study of Diversity Among Men and Women (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1978), pp. 308, 309; See also A. P. Bell, M. S. Weinberg, and S. K. Hammersmith, Sexual Preference(Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1981).

14. Paul Van de Ven et al., “A Comparative Demographic and Sexual Profile of Older Homosexually Active Men,” Journal of Sex Research 34 (1997): 354.

16. Ryan Lee, “Gay Couples Likely to Try Non-monogamy, Study Shows,” Washington Blade (August 22, 2003): 18.

17. David H. Demo, et al., editors, Handbook of Family Diversity (New York: Oxford University Press, 2000): 73.

It’s mostly peer-reviewed journals and academic presses. I’m counting the Washington Blade as a reputable source, even though it is only a newspaper, because it is one the nation’s leading gay newspapers, and maybe the leading gay newspaper.

So let’s get back to the study – 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive have unprotected sex with men. Now, imagine you have a gay son or a gay male friend. Given this data from the Center for Disease Control, do you think that it’s reasonable for you to encourage them in this lifestyle? Or rather, should you prefer to disagree with them, for their own good? And it’s not just for their good. The closer we move to socialized medicine, the more the costs of behaviors that are likely to make people sick are going to be shared among people who don’t even engage in those behaviors. We shouldn’t be celebrating anything that hurts people or impoverishes people. We should disagree, but in a respectful, winsome way. Not with the intent to harm, but with the intent to inform and educate.

11 thoughts on “New CDC study: 62% of men who know they are HIV-positive have unprotected sex with men”

  1. Wow! Relations with 1,000 men? I can remember dating about 8 women before getting married. Been married now for over 25yrs..

    Like

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