Op-ed: Hooking Up and HIV/AIDS When You're Zero Feet Away

Two researchers venture to understand how app-based hookups are keeping HIV rates high among young men.



Among those who practice sex without condoms, 84% said it was because condoms decrease the sensation of sex. Three quarters say it’s because of impulsive sexual behavior, and 57% say it’s because they were under the influence of drugs. Half said it was because they already knew the HIV status of their partner.

Interestingly, half of respondents concurred with the statement “AIDS is now a common and manageable disease.” When it comes to asking sexual partners their HIV status, 49% of respondents feel very comfortable and 29% said they are comfortable having sex with HIV-positive partners.

About half of the participants knew of pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) or post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP), and some respondents voluntarily disclosed having accessed PEP services and some shared being part of PreP studies.

Eighteen percent of those who opted to disclose their HIV status said that they were HIV-positive, 72% said they were negative, and the remaining people said they were unsure of their status.

As found in other studies, people may know the facts about things like unsafe sex, smoking cigarettes, or drinking and driving, but that doesn’t necessarily inform how they act. Respondents identified the way condoms feel, impulsive behaviors, and the use of drugs as the principal causes for engaging in bareback sex. This places control externally, in tools that interrupt the sexual experience’s fluidity or interfere with making healthy choices.

Tags: Commentary