Intended for healthcare professionals


HIV risk behaviour in gay men: on the rise?

BMJ 2000; 320 doi: (Published 03 June 2000) Cite this as: BMJ 2000;320:1487

Monitoring risk behaviour and incidence of infection is essential

  1. Andrew Grulich, senior lecturer (
  1. National Centre in HIV Epidemiology, 376 Victoria St, Darlinghurst, Sydney, NSW 2010 Australia

    Papers p 1510

    In most developed countries it was gay men who were affected earliest and most severely by HIV. In the early 1980s, incidence rates of HIV of 20% a year were described, leading to a prevalence of up to 50% in gay men in some US cities.1 Death and disability became part of life in gay communities. As soon as AIDS was recognised as being a sexually transmissible infection, education and prevention campaigns were rapidly implemented. In many countries, these were mobilised by gay organisations in the face of government inaction. These campaigns led to large scale declines in the practice of unprotected anal intercourse, which had previously been the norm, and declines in the incidence of sexually transmissible infections, including HIV.1 2 This behaviour change was so successful in reducing the incidence of HIV that gay communities became the example of what is possible in HIV prevention in the community.

    Since the mid-1990s, new combination antiretroviral therapies have …

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