A substantial increase in unprotected anal sex among men who have sex with men (MSM) has prompted a call for stepped-up efforts to reduce risk behaviors and regularly test uninfected sexually active men for HIV.
A recent analysis of National HIV Behavioral Surveillance System data showed that in all but 2 states—South Dakota and Pennsylvania—the majority of new HIV diagnoses in 2011 were among MSM. The percentage of MSM who had unprotected anal sex at least once in the previous year increased by 20%, from 48% in 2005 to 57% in 2011. Researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) noted that unprotected anal sex doesn’t only increase the risk of HIV infection. The practice also increases the likelihood of infection with other sexually transmitted diseases such as syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea. What’s more, the researchers added, condoms may reduce but not eliminate HIV transmission risk.
More Robust Effort Needed to Reduce HIV Risk Behavior, Increase Testing. JAMA. 2014;311(5):457. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.38