Doctors alarmed by HIV risk for European gays

Published: September 8, 2010

PARIS (AFP) – Homosexual men in Europe are increasingly failing to adhere to safe sex, according to two new studies. In France, transmission of the AIDS virus "seems to be out of control" among men who have sex with men, said a paper published on Thursday in The Lancet Infectious Diseases.

Overall incidence of HIV in France declined from 8,390 new infections in 2003 to 6,940 in 2008, said its lead author, Stephane le Vu of the National Institute for Public Health Surveillance.

But men who have sex with men accounted for 48 percent of new cases and have an infection rate that is 200 times higher than in the heterosexual population, despite a long-running campaign to promote safe sex, le Vu noted.

Separately, investigators at Ghent University in Belgium, publishing in the open-access journal BMC Infectious Diseases on Monday, found genetic evidence pointing to risky behaviour among young white gays.

They sequenced the strains of the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) from more than 500 patients, male and female, heterosexual and homosexual, who had been newly diagnosed between 2001 and 2009.

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