Some HIV-Infected Gays Ignoring Safe Sex

Study finds 3.5 percent have sexually transmittted infections

THURSDAY, July 11, 2002 (HealthDayNews) -- The safe sex message doesn't seem to be getting through to some people.

A University of California at San Francisco (UCSF) study found that 3 percent of 1,110 HIV-infected gay men in New York and San Francisco had a current syphilis infection and 0.5 percent of them had a current case of chlamydia or gonorrhea.

Of the men found to have a sexually transmitted infection (STI), 96 percent had received HIV-related health care in the previous six months.

"This implies a lack of prevention messages with any impact from their primary health-care providers," study author Cynthia A. Gomez, an assistant professor of medicine at UCSF's Center for AIDS Prevention Studies, says in a statement.

"These rates of STI among HIV-positive MSM (men who have sex with men) are higher than previously reported, and suggest an increase in unprotected sex. The high rates point out the critical need for clinicians to screen regularly for sexually transmitted infections, and to deliver effective risk reduction messages to their patients," Gomez says.

Gomez was to present the study today at the 14th International AIDS Conference in Barcelona, Spain.

Of the men who tested positive for an STI, 62 percent had herpes simplex virus-2. People infected with that virus are more likely to transmit HIV, new research suggests. The study says 18 percent of the men with an STI had latent or previously treated syphilis.

The study included men from AIDS service groups, gay venues and public sex locations. All the men in the study reported that they had sex with an HIV-negative partner or a partner with unknown HIV status within the previous year.

More information

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on STDs and HIV prevention.

SOURCE: University of California at San Francisco, news release, July 11, 2002
Consumer News