The safe-sex message appears to be languishing in the British Isles, with more than one-in-three HIV-positive gay men saying they engage in unprotected sex. The report, in the journal Sexually Transmitted Infections, was based on a survey of men at gay bars, clubs, and saunas in London, Manchester, and Brighton between 2003 and 2004.
Carried out at 90 venues, the surveys gathered information on lifestyle, background, and sexual behavior from around 2,600 men. Additionally, saliva samples were also requested to find out about HIV prevalence.
The researchers found that the rate of HIV infection was highest in Brighton, at almost 14 percent, and lowest in Manchester, at 8.6 percent. More worryingly, the rates of undiagnosed infection were high in all three cities, ranging from one-in-three in Brighton to more than four-out-of-10 (44 percent) in London.
The survey showed that nearly a fifth of HIV negative men and over a third of HIV positive men had had unprotected sex with more than one partner in the past year. Over the same period, one-in-five HIV negative men and four-out-of-10 HIV positive men said that they had had a sexually transmitted infection.
The researchers conclude by calling for renewed efforts to be made to boost diagnosis - possibly through a national policy to promote HIV testing - and curb risky behaviors that encourage onward transmission of HIV and other STDs.
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Source: Sexually Transmitted Infections