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Report shows favourable attitude to safe sex

Thu 6 Dec 2012 In: New Zealand Daily News View at Wayback

File photo Most gay and bisexual men participating in community surveys have favourable attitudes towards condoms and safe sex, according to a brief report published by University of Otago researchers. Around 95 per cent of respondents agreed that condoms are OK as part of sex, over 90 per cent disagreed that they would never be willing to use condoms for anal intercourse, and most also believed that other gay and bisexual men supported condom use. The findings come from an analysis of the attitudes of 11,627 men in the Gay Auckland Periodic Sex Survey (GAPSS) and Gay men’s Online Sex Survey (GOSS) from 2002 to 2011. Most respondents participated at the Big Gay Out fair days or from Internet dating sites. “The New Zealand AIDS Foundation’s condom promotion campaigns over many years appear to be hitting the mark. There is strong evidence of a cultural norm to have safe sex among New Zealand gay and bisexual men” says lead investigator Dr Peter Saxton of the AIDS Epidemiology Group at the University of Otago’s Department of Preventive and Social Medicine. Nevertheless, a small proportion of respondents report difficulties negotiating condom use. Almost a third report sometimes feeling under pressure not to use a condom, and around 10 per cent stated that the sex they have is not always as safe as they want it to be. Some of the ten attitude questions had been asked in each survey since 2002, allowing the researchers to investigate trends. “There is a small proportion of gay and bisexual men who do not perceive HIV as an immediate personal threat, but this small proportion is growing over time,” Dr Saxton says. “For example, there is increasing agreement that the HIV epidemic is less serious than it used to be, that an HIV positive man would disclose his status before sex, and that the respondent would sometimes rather risk HIV than use a condom. “Monitoring attitudes to safe sex is important because people are increasingly exposed to mixed messages about HIV prevention,” Dr Saxton says. “Attitudes are a precursor to norms, and norms shape behaviours. The New Zealand AIDS Foundation needs to know what direction attitudes are shifting towards if they’re to plan effective responses for gay and bisexual men.”    

Credit: Daily News staff

First published: Thursday, 6th December 2012 - 11:09am

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