Originally published on Advocate.com February 19 2004 12:00 AM ET
Study data presented at the 11th Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections in San Francisco show that about 5% of HIV-positive gay men with detectable viral loads and drug-resistant HIV infections report having insertive unprotected anal sex with partners they know to be HIV-negative, putting their partners at a high risk of contracting the disease, AIDSmap.com reports. Most of the HIV-positive men reporting unprotected insertive anal sex also reported having six or more anal sex partners during the four months prior to being interviewed for the study. HIV is mostly easily transmitted during unprotected anal sex in which the insertive partner is HIV-infected and has a detectable viral load.
Researchers from the University of California, San Francisco, interviewed 287 HIV-positive men and women currently on highly active antiretroviral therapy about their sexual behaviors and tested the study subjects for genetic markers of drug resistance. A total of 27% of gay men on HAART who had drug-resistant virus and detectable viral loads reported unprotected anal sex in the previous four months, but most either were the receptive sex partners or were engaging in unprotected sex with other HIV-positive partners. About 31% of gay men on HAART with no drug resistance reported unprotected anal sex during the four months prior to being interviewed.
The HIV-positive gay men most likely to report unprotected insertive anal sex with HIV-negative partners were those under age 35, those with only a high school education, those who used the anti-impotence medication Viagra, and those who suffered from depression.