Which gay men should be the target for prevention work?

Published: August 8, 2008


Researchers at the International AIDS Conference in Mexico City have suggested a range of approaches for better defining the characteristics of gay men who are at greatest risk of being involved in HIV exposure or transmission, and who can be targeted for HIV prevention interventions.

Tania Gibbie used data on the factors that are associated with sexual risk-taking to develop an easy-to-use screening tool that could be used in primary care settings. The study is probably less interesting for its findings (which are based on a small sample) than for the way the data is being translated into a practical tool that can help healthcare staff identify men who may need support with HIV prevention.

The study was based on a sample of 152 gay or bisexual men in an Australian primary care setting (35% of whom were HIV-positive). Having found that in multivariate analysis a number of factors were associated with unprotected anal intercourse with casual or serodiscordant partners or with a recent sexually transmitted infection, a questionnaire was developed to identify men with those characteristics.

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