Skip to comments.Rise of Internet Fuels Fears of AIDS Resurgence [well, at leat they didn't blame Dubya]
Posted on 07/29/2003 7:23:31 PM PDT by Pharmboy
ATLANTA (Reuters) - A growing number of gay and bisexual men in the United States are engaging in risky sex with partners they meet on the Internet, raising fears that the AIDS virus could be poised for a major comeback in the group hardest hit by the epidemic.
Online chatrooms and Web sites are replacing gay bathhouses and sex clubs as the most popular meeting point to arrange high-risk sex, according to two new studies presented on Tuesday at the 2003 National HIV (news - web sites) Prevention Conference.
The findings come amid growing evidence of an apparent resurgence of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS, as well as syphilis in men who have sex with men. The presence of sexually transmitted diseases is known to facilitate the spread of HIV.
New HIV diagnoses among gay and bisexual men have jumped more than 17 percent since 1999, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (news - web sites) reported this week. Some 850,000 to 950,000 Americans have the AIDS virus and approximately 16,000 die from the disease each year.
"It's clear we need to reach gay and bisexual men with appropriate messages, not only in traditional high-risk settings but also online," said Dr. Ron Valdiserri, deputy director of the CDC's National Center for HIV, STD and TB Prevention.
In one survey by the California Department of Health Services, 23 percent of gay and bisexual men infected with syphilis admitted meeting sexual partners on the Internet, compared to 21 percent who had done so in bathhouses.
MORE SEXUAL ENCOUNTERS
Researchers noted that men who met partners online, in bathhouses or at sex clubs tended to have more sexual encounters than those who did not.
A separate study by the Center for AIDS Prevention Studies at the University of California in San Francisco found that 39 percent of gay and bisexual males interviewed online admitted having unprotected anal sex with someone they had met on the Internet in the previous two months.
Eleven percent of these respondents were HIV-positive.
Despite the sobering data, there were some signs the Internet could be used as a tool for delivering HIV prevention and safe sex messages to groups at high risk.
AIDS experts reported success raising HIV and STD prevention with gay and bisexual males online through the use of banner ads, one-on-one outreach sessions and discussions in chat rooms on Web sites.
The anonymity of the Internet often allowed educators to address issues some men might feel reluctant to discuss in clinics or elsewhere. There was also a need to heighten awareness of HIV prevention with other groups such as minorities and teen-agers.
Research presented at the conference showed about 20 percent of blacks and Latinos were unaware of the antiretroviral drugs that had revolutionized the battle against AIDS in the early 1990s.
"Information about these treatments must be communicated more effectively ...," said Valerie Mills, associate administrator for HIV/AIDS at the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
About half of the estimated 40,000 new HIV infections reported each year in the nation occur among blacks.
Keyboard + typing = no risk.
The title of the article suggests that the internet leads people to more risky behaviors, but in the end can help prevent such risky behaviors. So, which is it?
But, I thought it wasn't a gay disease.
Don't be so sure. Seeing as this is the third year in a row that the national HIV infection rate is on the rise, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, I bet it's only a matter of time before fingers are pointed.
I wonder if they mean messages like "Stop the Sodomy"?
Democrats lie. It helps to sell their social program.
- The American Journal of Public Health Highlights Risks of Homosexual Practices
- Anal Sex Largest Cause of HIV in Africa
- Gay Men Meeting Online Contracting Syphilis Faster
- Syphilis Cases On The Rise In Bay Area - Dr. Klausner: 'It's Absolutely An Epidemic'
- Many HIV positive don't tell
- Syphilis up, most new cases are homosexuals
- Sodomy: A Public Health Risk
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