Sexual practices shifting, S.F. studies find
On what he calls “a homegrown version of HIV prevention known as "serosorting" “ which has increased dramatically among gay men in San Francisco, Serosorting is choosing to have unprotected anal intercourse only with partners of the same HIV status -- uninfected men having sex only with HIV-negatives, while infected men seek out only HIV-positive partners. He notes this evolved in the gay community without the kind of institutional support given to programs encouraging condom use and reducing the number of sexual partners.
According to a study by published in the American Journal of Public Health, Dennis Osmond and colleagues at UCSF, 27 percent of gay men in
"There seems to be a tendency favoring serosorting over condom use, especially among younger men," said Osmond.
The Chronicle article makes the point that if both partners know their infection status and disclose it honestly it would reduce infections but because of “the uncertainty, the practice is considered a sexual behavior that potentially puts the uninfected at higher risk”.
Higher-risk sexual behaviors have increased in the gay community, Osmond found, with the highest risk concentrated among men ages 30 to 50.The article notes that “despite the trend toward serosorting,” the percentage of men reporting unprotected anal intercourse with a partner of different or unknown HIV status rose to nearly 15 percent in 2002 from 9 percent in 1997. [We feels justified in suggesting this may be because of . . . rather than despite . . .]
Changes in Prevalence of HIV Infection and Sexual Risk Behavior in Men Who Have Sex With Men: San Francisco, 1997-2002
Dennis H. Osmond et al
American Journal of Public Health, 10.2105/AJPH.2005.062851
AJPH First Look, published online ahead of print