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Early Signs of Fallout from Same-Sex Marriage?

As the US public grow more comfortable with the idea of same-sex marriage, other changes are afoot too. Do the following correlations indicate causation?

For the last few years, there has been an increase in GLBT intimate partner violence.

Early in July 2013, reported that “If HIV continues to spread at current rates, half of college-aged gay men will have the infection by the age of 50.” It wasnt a story that recieved widespread coverage, but the data was claimed to be sourced from a reputable government organisation (the CDC) and it was also reported amongst the HIV positive community. The statistics were news because they reflected a large jump in HIV infection amongst gay and bisexual young men in the USA, and a projection of a huge increase in infection rates into the future. The rates of new infections when not broken down into age groups, were stable though. And meanwhile, other reports suggested that internationally, new incidences of HIV infections were down, but continuing to rise for gay men. The CDC reported increasing AIDS cases amongst US teenage males and that for US teenage males, HIV is increasingly a gay disease. Much the same was reported for Hong Kong, with the graphs on this report making it crystal clear.

1901333_1552640284960386_946991574_nSo why that increase? That is the million dollar question. Some have suggested that the cause is diversion of funds from HIV prevention, into lobbying for same-sex marriage. Meanwhile, overall increases in HIV infection in Thailand and in London were attributed to increased drug use. But drug use has not been raised as a key cause for changes in the US. What about the following theory. What if more people are now engaging in anal sex? Some people scoff at this suggestion. But the reality is that sexual orientation is a spectrum. Some people are exclusively attracted to members the opposite sex. Others are exclusively attracted to members of the same sex. But in between, many people are attracted to some degree, to members of either sex. And as public disapproval of homosexuality decreases, isnt it likely that young people will engage in more diverse sexual experimenting? And if they do experiment more, isnt it likely that STD infection rates will also increase?

“No”, say some, who suggest that the reverse is actually the case. One article from 2010, claims that “an increase in tolerance [of gay relationships] significantly reduces the rate of HIV”. Yet evidence from the CDC shows that the national rate of new HIV infections for men who have sex with men, were stable between 2000 and 2010, despite several states legalising gay marriage during that period. In other words, from that point of view, increased tolerance had no bearing on the total rate of new HIV infections.


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