Four in 10 gay men say the majority of sex they have is unprotected, in new startling survey of 1,500 gay and bisexual men in the UK.
In a study of sexual health across Britain, it found that while more people are worrying about becoming HIV-positive, it doesn’t mean that correlates with more people using condoms.
Sexual health charity GMFA found 39% of gay men said the majority of sex they had in the last year was unprotected. 25% said they only had unprotected anal sex some of the time, while 35% said they don’t have any unprotected sex.
Results for single HIV-negative men who mostly or only have bareback sex was found out to be that:
42% are not worried about HIV
43% are not worried about other STDs
47% do worry about HIV positive
48% do worry about picking up other STDs
Up to 51% of gay men believe current HIV campaigns do not speak to them.
Lorne, 24 from Cardiff, is single and said he had bareback sex with 30 guys in the past year. He says: ‘It’s far from a death sentence. I’d prefer to have HIV than diabetes. I endeavor not to decline someone based on their HIV status.’
Mike, 32 from London, does not worry about picking up STIs or becoming HIV positive and does not ask the status of casual sex partners. ‘I don’t ask as I don’t care. I’m a bareback cumdump. I understand the risks.’
Ian Howley, the incoming interim CEO of GMFA, said: ‘HIV prevention is about so much more than telling someone to wear a condom, to test, to take PrEP. It’s also about self-esteem, self worth, mental health and empowerment. If you don’t care about yourself, why would you care about remaining HIV-negative? And this is where HIV prevention has to change. We need to step back and think about how we approach this.
‘This is so much more to gay men’s health than HIV and we need to address this. The game has changed and we need to change tactics. If we are to finally win the fight against HIV, it’s not going to be down to just PrEP or condoms or testing.
‘It’s going to be when we, as a community, start to value our own lives and see our self worth. It will be when we work on our self-esteem and make sure we look after the issues we face in our day-to-day lives. Remaining HIV-negative is just one part of the battle to be healthy.’
He added: ‘We’re in a new era when it comes to HIV, and we all need to work together to make sure that we supply the information gay and bisexual men are looking for. But unfortunately we are in a time where spending on HIV prevention has been cut year-on-year, donations in the sector as a whole are down and we are seeing charities close. Something needs to be done.’