Thoughts, Attitudes, and Feelings of HIV-Positive MSM Associated With High Transmission-Risk Sex

Published: November 18, 2011


This study presents survey data collected from a sample of HIV-positive men (N = 182) who had high transmission-risk sex, defined as unprotected anal intercourse with a man whose HIV-status was negative or unknown, in the previous6 months. Despite the tremendous changes in HIV treatment and their impact on people living with HIV, little recent research has examined current trends in their thoughts toward unprotected anal intercourse. Here, the authors describe the self-justifications reported by HIV-positive men who have sex with men (MSM) in their current study conducted between 2006 and 2009 and explore key differences between the those of the HIV-positive MSM and those collected from a previous cohort of HIV-negative men (n = 124), who previously reported engaging in high transmission-risk sex. Whereas HIV-negative men focused on themes related to the impulsivity of and gratification from unprotected intercourse, HIV-positive men focused on themes regarding the deferral of responsibility/assumption the partner is positive (i.e., "If he’s doing X, he must be positive . . ."), or the role of condomless sex fulfilling emotional needs. The findings highlight unique aspects of how HIV-positive men approach decision making regarding the use of condoms, as well as how they perceive issues of responsibility for initiating safer sex practices.

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