A new study of German gay men finds that those who discuss HIV before sex are much less likely to acquire the virus and also finds that HIV has a tendency to transmit during the first six months of a relationship, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in BMC Public Health, researchers studied 105 gay men with recently diagnosed HIV and compared them with 105 HIV-negative controls, collecting the data between 2008 and 2010.
The investigators found no differences between the two groups in terms of their knowledge of the risks of HIV transmission, the frequency that they were tested for the virus, whether or not they were in a relationship, or their frequency of condomless intercourse with partners known to be HIV positive or assumed to be HIV negative.
Those who had recently contracted HIV were 3.9-times more likely than the controls to be in a partnership with another man that had lasted less than six months, adding evidence to research findings over the years that have suggested that a sizeable proportion of HIV transmission among gay men occurs between primary partners. Those with new HIV were 2.5 times more likely than the controls to report lower rates of condom use with men outside of their primary partnership or with acquaintances, and they were 4.5 times more likely to report lower condom usage with partners they met online.
Those who recently became positive were 3.0 times more likely to report condomless intercourse with men whose HIV status they did not know when compared with the controls. Discussing HIV status before sex, meanwhile, was linked with an 80 percent reduction in the risk of acquiring HIV. Always using a condom for sex outside of a relationship and discussing HIV before sex was linked to a 77 percent reduction in risk.
To read the aidsmap story, click here.
To read the study, click here.