Originally published on Advocate.com March 19 2004 12:00 AM ET
A telephone survey of 400 gay men in Seattle shows that most of the men are taking steps to protect themselves and their sex partners from HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases, the Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports. Survey results, presented at the National STD Prevention Conference in Philadelphia last week, showed that only 20% of the men reported having unprotected anal sex with a partner whose HIV status was unknown or who had a different status from their own. The majority of the men said they use condoms during anal intercourse, avoid having sex with partners of unknown serostatus, and disclose their own serostatus to sex partners. "That means [safer sex] is the community norm," Hunter Handsfield, director of the King County STD control program, told the Post-Intelligencer. He also noted the telephone survey likely provides a more general picture of the sexual practices of gay and bisexual men in the area as opposed to surveys given to attendees of HIV or STD clinics because the patients seeking STD services are probably engaging in more unprotected sex that puts them at risk for the infections.