New York panel examines rise in barebacking
A panel discussion held earlier this month at New York City's Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center focused on the growing problem of unprotected--or bareback--anal sex among gay and bisexual men in the city, Gay City News reports. A study discussed at the panel meeting showed that of 518 gay and bisexual men surveyed, 204 reported having bareback sex in the previous three months. One quarter of those men engaging in anal sex without condoms were aware that they were HIV-positive at the time they had unsafe sex. The survey also showed that 47.9% of the men who had bareback sex said they did so because of the effectiveness of new anti-HIV medications, while 45.6% blamed AIDS fatigue and 48.9% said boring safer sex campaigns led to their behavior. About 40% of the men surveyed said bareback sex was a new "sexual and cultural" phenomenon in gay communities. Therapist Michael Shernoff said the study data gives AIDS experts a clear picture of why risky behaviors are on the rise among New York's gay and bisexual men, and hopefully will help AIDS groups tailor new campaigns to urge these men to adopt safer sex practices. "I don't think prevention has failed," he told Gay City News. "I think that prevention has failed to evolve. We have to tailor the prevention messages to reach the diversity of men."