Oral versus anal sex at last encounter – behavioral differences among men who have sex with men in the District of Columbia.

Published: November 22, 2011


Oral sex may be used as a form of harm reduction against HIV transmission. We compared characteristics of men who have sex with men (MSM) in Washington, DC having oral sex versus those having anal sex at last encounter. Data collected through National HIV Behavioral Surveillance in 2008 using venue-based sampling were used. Men ≥18 years old disclosing MSM behavior in the past year were analyzed (n=500); OraQuick and Western Blot confirmation were used to assess HIV status. Multivariable methods were used for data analyses by type of sex at last encounter. A total of 71.8% of MSM had anal sex and 28.2% reported oral sex at last encounter. Men reporting oral sex were more likely to be white, older, insured, HIV-negative, unaware of last partner’s HIV status, have a main partner, and not be HIV tested in the previous year. Significant demographic and behavioral differences exist between MSM reporting oral or anal sex; further studies should assess whether oral sex is being used as HIV prevention among MSM.

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