Monday, October 30, 2006

HIV-positive men commonly have unprotected sex with women

Several recent studies have found that a high proportion of HIV-positive U.S. men engage in unprotected sex with female partners who are HIV-negative, revealing a significant danger to women's health and a contributing factor to the country's HIV epidemic.

Three papers in the August issue of the Journal of Urban Health: Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine find a larger number of HIV-positive men are sexually active with women than with other men, putting women at greater and increasing risk of exposure. Although many people living with HIV are aware of the harmful health effects of unprotected sex, a significant number still do not follow safer sex practices, such as using condoms. And the studies found HIV-positive men tend to fluctuate in their sexual habits, initiating unprotected sex after a period of consistently safer sex practices and vice versa.

Younger men living with HIV/AIDS and men with a spouse or steady partners were most likely to report unsafe sex, which also increased with the incidence of drug use, problem drinking, homelessness, depression and recent incarceration. Older age, optimism and use of antiretroviral medications reduced the likelihood of an HIV-positive man engaging in unprotected sex.

Based on the findings, the authors of all three papers emphasized the need for prevention initiatives aimed at HIV-positive men.

Source: Nation's Health, Oct2006


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