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New York group
conducts HIV outreach at sex parties

New York group
conducts HIV outreach at sex parties

Positive Health Project staff say as many as half of sex party attendees use drugs.

The Positive Health Project, a New York City agency aiming to reduce the spread of HIV among city residents who use drugs, is providing HIV prevention information to sexually active gay men in a rather unorthodox way--by having staff members attend some of the private sex parties held regularly in the city, Gay City News reports. PHP staff members attend eight regularly scheduled private sex parties in the city, providing condoms, HIV prevention materials, and referrals to HIV antibody testing sites and needle-exchange programs.

Sam Orlando, a PHP member, told Gay City News he's been surprised by the lack of knowledge about HIV and how it's transmitted when he spoke to men in their 20s and 30s attending a sex party he's visited regularly since November. Condom use by party attendees is inconsistent, he says, putting them and their sex partners at risk for HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases. Orlando also says that because he believes about half of the men attending the sex party are using drugs, he counsels attendees about the dangers of drug abuse and how to avoid overdoses.

Few other New York AIDS organizations conduct HIV outreach at private sex parties. Gay Men of African Descent promoted safer sex at private gatherings from 1998 through 2001 but halted the program in part because of the difficulty in keeping track of the events and in gaining the trust of party organizers and attendees. Gay Men's Health Crisis, the largest HIV agency in the city, says it conducts HIV prevention work at two of the city's bathhouses but does not target private sex parties. (

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