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Unsafe sex dominates internet hookups

Sat 11 Nov 2006 In: New Zealand Daily News

A sting operation on an internet dating website has revealed that hundreds, if not thousands, of New Zealand gay and bi are seeking unsafe sex, regardless of the dangers of contracting HIV. The HIV infection rate amongst New Zealand men who have sex with men has increased more than three-fold since 2000, following a decade in which infection rates had levelled out. In the lead-up to World AIDS Day, on December 1st, sent an undercover researcher into a NZ-based dating website posing as a young man open to unsafe sex. Such condomless penetrative sex, termed barebacking, is the main way in which the deadly HIV virus is transmitted through our gay community. "I was shocked by how easy it was for our guy to line up heaps of specifically unsafe sex encounters in just a few hours, and by how many men were willing to risk contracting or spreading HIV," says editor Jay Bennie. "Years of safe sex education seem to now count for nothing in the vacuum of internet dating." Bennie, who also operates an Auckland sex on site venue, says he is concerned that such a dominant a culture of barebacking has developed far from the reaches of safe sex educational campaigns or freely available condoms and lubricant. "This is a wake-up call to any and all websites that harbour this activity, the health educators charged with stemming the rate of HIV infection, and the loose community of gay and bi men who continue to be the New Zealanders most affected by the spread of incurable HIV." Bennie says that's dating service has for several years contained reminders of the need for safe sex and links to the NZAF in formation website. "Sadly, other sites are not so proactive and many men are clearly not bothered by the prospect of HIV infection."     Ref: (w)

Credit: News Staff

First published: Saturday, 11th November 2006 - 12:00pm

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