By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com August 23 2002 12:00 AM ET
A government report issued this week in Australia shows that the number of gay men in Australia having unprotected sex has doubled during the last four years, prompting government officials to begin considering plans for a renewed safer-sex campaign aimed at gay and bisexual men. The report, titled "Annual Report of Behaviour 2002" and compiled by the National Centre in HIV Social Research, also showed that the rate of HIV infection has remained steady among gay and bisexual men in Australia during the past four years, that the number of cases of most other sexually transmitted diseases among gay men has increased, and that for the first time in five years new hepatitis C infections among men who have sex with men decreased in 2001.
Health officials say the increase in unsafe sex is due to more gay men not using condoms because they are assuming that their sex partners are HIV-negative and a false sense that currently available anti-HIV drugs can forever keep HIV infection in check. The report calls for more government prevention programs that encourage gay men to use condoms during sex to protect themselves from HIV, hepatitis, gonorrhea, syphilis, and other STDs.