Intentional unsafe sex (barebacking) among HIV-positive gay men who seek sexual partners on the internet

New York University, Department of Applied Psychology, New York, NY 10003, USA.
AIDS Care (Impact Factor: 1.6). 07/2003; 15(3):367-78. DOI: 10.1080/0954012031000105423
Source: PubMed

ABSTRACT While unsafe sex has been reported throughout the HIV epidemic, the underlying assumption has been that most persons do not seek to purposely ham unprotected sex. Within the gay community, the term 'barebacking' has emerged to refer to intentional unsafe anal sex. The prevalence of barebacking is evidenced among gay men, particularly those who are HIV-positive, by the number of internet sites devoted to barebacking and the number of men seeking sexual partners through the use of the internet. To gain insight into barebacking, a sample of 112 HIV-positive gay men were recruited from internet sites where men seek to meet each other for sex. The major it of participants (84%)reported engaging in barebacking in the past three months, and 43% of the men reported recent bareback sex with a partner of unknown serostatus. These results indicate the potential for widespread transmission of HIV to uninfected men by the partners they meet on the internet. Analyses revealed that men who reported bareback sex only with HIV-positive partners scored lower in sexual adventurism than those who had bareback sex regardless of partner serostatus. A significant correlation was observed between defining masculinity as sexual prowess and intentional unprotected anal sex. There are serious implications for HIV prevention efforts, in that internet-based education should be a priority in order to reach men who rely on this mechanism to find sexual partners.

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Available from: Jeffrey T Parsons, May 20, 2014
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    • "Finally, there is a great deal of attention, fear and avoidance in the gay community surrounding the reduced disclosure of HIV status to one's sexual partners, which may result in a greater likelihood of serodiscordant sexual partners (Poindexter & Shippy, 2010). This is a bidirectional relationship, however, with both HIV-negative and HIV-positive men inferring that a lack of discussion and willingness to participate in condomless intercourse implies seroconcordance; this is a phenomenon identified by early studies of HIV and gay and bisexual men (Gold & Skinner, 1993; Halkitis & Parsons, 2003; Parsons et al., 2005, 2006; Suarez & Miller, 2001). This pattern of assumptions has been highly stable throughout the history of the pandemic, and does not appear to have shifted over time. "
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    • "In another study (Bull, McFarlane, Lloyd, & Rietmeijer, 2004), among men actively using the Internet as a means of locating potential sex partners, 97% reported actually having met someone online for sex, and 86% said that they used Internet MSM sex sites at least once a week to identify possible partners. Halkitis et al. (2003) cited Internet Websites and chat rooms as key sources that are partly responsible for the upsurge of unprotected sexual activities that they have observed among gay and bisexual men in the New York City area. Another study examining the role that Internet usage plays with regard to HIV risk taking found that persons who had a history of meeting sex partners via the Internet reported more frequent involvement in risky sexual behaviors than persons who had not met sex partners online (Mustanski, 2007). "
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