Do Gays Have an Effective Prevention for Sexually Transmitted Infection?Posted: May 3, 2015
Basically everyone knows that sex comes with risk of transmission of dangerous disease, and that for gay men there is a higher risk of transmission of incurable disease (Im thinking HIV) and other STIs. Some tend to downplay this though, with throw-away lines like “just use protection.” There are even HIV groups which suggest the end of HIV is in sight. However, a 2013 report revealed that gay men who use condoms for anal sex, still get sexually transmitted infections (STIs), and the more sexual partners they have, the more likely they are to acquire an STI. The EMIS 2010: European Men-Who-Have- Sex-With-Men Internet Survey, stated –
It is noteworthy that using condoms for anal intercourse with non-steady partners had little effect on newly-diagnosed STIs, particularly when compared with the impact of the number of sexual partners. The impact of multiple partners might be explained partly by the fact that most STIs – unlike HIV – are easily transmitted via oral sex. Condom use is not routinely recommended for oral sex and condoms are not often used by MSM during oral sex.
Information from elsewhere, concludes that condoms are not entirely reliable as protection. And of course not all gay european males (or US gay males) use condoms consistently anyway (p. 115). The EMIS report even graphs the likelihood of European gay males catching various STIs from gonohorrhea to HIV, based on the number of sexual partners in one year. Condoms help reduce transmission, but the reality is that STIs are often dealt with by way of medication, after the STI has been caught. This approach comes with big risks, because not all STIs come with obvious signs that they are present, and some STIs can damage your internal organs, or even kill you. The ol’ “just use protection” line, is ringing hollow.
Another complaint you often hear from the gay community, is that their suffering is based on discrimination. You might gain the impression that if there was no discrimination, gay people would have no problems. Well the EMIS report presents an interesting insight into this area. On page 15 of the report, there is a graph depicting the degree to which gay men in a given county are out of the closet, in relation to a proxy measurement for HIV prevalence for that country. The authors of the report suggest that the degree to which gays are out of the closet, is also an indicator of the degree of anti-gay sentiment for each country. If you listen to gay activists (whom you might have noticed, tend to blame gay suffering on ‘discrimination’), you might conclude that countries which are more ‘gay-friendly’ would experience lower HIV rates. But the graph reveals that in fact countries where gays are more likely to be out of the closet, also experience some of the higher proportions of HIV cases.
This finding has also been backed up by another study. A separate study from New York University’s Center for Health, Identity, Behavior & Prevention Studies (CHIBPS) found that “younger average age at sexual debut with another man was also associated with a greater likelihood of HIV seroconversion.” In other words, the younger a gay man is when he becomes sexually active, the more likely he is to contract HIV. Logically, in cultures that are more “gay-friendly”, the age at which a gay person becomes sexually active is likely to be earlier, since there is less risk of backlash from society. Some data (ref. 2, ref. 3) backs this up. And we know that there is a trend of gay men coming out at younger and younger ages, on average. So it’s not a surprise when an abstract on the CHIBPS report states “HIV infections continue to rise in a new generation of young, gay, bisexual and other men who have sex with men (YMSM) despite three decades of HIV prevention …”
But yet another study, paints an even worse picture. Research by Robert S. Remis et al, in Canada found that –
Among Ontario MSM in 2009, an estimated 92,963 HIV-negative men had 1,184,343 episodes of anal sex with a condom and 117,133 anal sex acts without a condom with an HIV-positive partner. Of the 693 new HIV infections, 51% were through anal sex with a condom, 33% anal sex without a condom and 16% oral sex.
The modern gay man with his finger of the pulse, will respond to this “Ah but Truvada! Ah but PrEP!” These are fairly new HIV prevention drugs. But in early 2016 it was revealed that even if those using these drugs follow the instructions (and many dont), there is evidence (Ref. 2) that they are not 100% effective. In addition, even in recent times, various STI rates are increasing amongst men who have sex with men.