Study: HIV, unprotected sex common among young gays in South Beach

By Advocate.com Editors

Originally published on Advocate.com June 27 2003 11:00 PM ET

According to a study of 2,622 18- to 29-year-old gay and bisexual men living in the South Beach section of Miami Beach, Fla., that included a questionnaire and first-time screening for HIV antibodies, 15% of the participants were infected with HIV and 45% reported having had unprotected anal intercourse during the previous year. The study, published in the June issue of the Journal of Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndromes, also showed that 31% of the men reported having had unprotected anal sex with a casual or anonymous partner. South Beach has one of the highest HIV/AIDS rates in the United States. An estimated 6.3% of all gay and bisexual men living in the area are believed to be HIV-positive.

"The high prevalences of unprotected anal intercourse and HIV infection in South Beach attest to a previously undocumented public health concern," the researchers concluded. "The extremely high estimated incidence for young men who have sex with men in South Beach highlights the urgent need for more effective risk-reduction interventions and further epidemiological research on resort areas."