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Testing for HIV and STI's amongst gay men who engage in group sex

April 19, 2009

An article by Prestage and others in Sexually Transmitted Infections 2009;85:70-74 reports the results of a survey of sexual habits of a group of 436 gay males who engage in group sex.

The results showed that among the 436 gay men who engaged in group sex within the previous one month 32.5% reported unprotected anal intercourse(UAI) with non-regular, mostly HIV unknown status partners at their recent group sex encounter. The article also reports other sexual practices which are risk factors for for STI's other than HIV.

The article concludes that gay men who have a doctor with whom they were able to openly discuss their group sex activities had received a broader (and by implication, better) range of STI (sexually transmitted infection) checks.

A further conclusion was that sexual practices that risk the transmission of STI's/STD's were common within the high risk group surveyed whereas awareness of risk and need for testing was high but not universal.

The moral of the article may be that patients who can constructively engage in discussion about their sexual habits and practices with an individual they trust not to be judgement may do better than those without that relationship.

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