A new study released recently claims to have found a major reason why gay and bisexual men remain so vulnerable to the AIDS epidemic. Their theory, when it comes to the transmission of HIV, a man who has unprotected anal intercourse is at especially high risk.

Experts for the study, conducted by the Johns Hopkins Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program, were quick to note that, worldwide, it is heterosexual men and women who are by far the majority of those who are infected with HIV. More than 30 years into the AIDS epidemic, however, gay and bisexual men remain especially vulnerable to infection despite a heavy emphasis on condoms and HIV testing.

According to study author Dr. Chris Beyrer, director of the Johns Hopkins Fogarty AIDS International Training and Research Program:

“Everywhere we looked, HIV is expanding both in high- and low-income countries among men who have sex with men.”

Previous studies have reported that being on the receiving end of anal intercourse is equally risky whether you’re a man or a woman. The risk was estimated at 1.4 percent per sex act with an infected person, about 18 times more risky than male-to-female vaginal intercourse. The study estimates that if receptive anal intercourse were only as risky as vaginal intercourse, HIV cases would fall by 80 percent to 98 percent among gay and bisexual men over five years. They also estimate that cases would fall by 29 percent to 51 percent if more gay and bisexual men had sex in long-term relationships instead of casual encounters.

The rates of infection are even higher among black men with research showing that black gay and bisexual men outside Africa are much more likely to be HIV-positive than the general population and other blacks and black gay and bisexual men in the United States were more likely to be infected with HIV than other gay and bisexual men. Researchers feel this number is high for several reasons including lack of access to medical care.

Experts are hoping that by focusing on prevention – such as condoms, more medical treatment for those who are already infected and use of medication that prevent infection – they will be able to decrease these numbers over the next decade. But Dr. Patrick S. Sullivan, an associate professor at Emory University’s Rollins School of Public Health feels that there is a better place to start, mainly by changing the views of societies that stigmatize homosexuality and turn it into a criminal offense.



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  1. Duh! This is nothing new. I swear, these (White) people will take any and every opportunity to remind us that we suffer from whatever bad thing at higher rates than anyone else. They’ll even use old information and pretend it’s something new.

  2. This is 100% true and I think that everyone is aware of it. The reason for it is b/c the anus (and the vagina) are lined with a lot of blood vessels that provide the virus direct access into your bloodstream. Without a condom, you are essentially screwed (pardon the pun). Wrap it up guys and gals!

    • Thanks for that. Because in reading this, I couldnt understand exactly WHY is it higher for anal v. vaginal sex. So you are suggesting its because its more blood vessels in the anus, and it would be easier for infection to occur there. Gotcha. @Kristen:

      • Well the rich blood supply particularly in the anus and rectum. Also there may be differences in the tissue of the areas that makes one more vulnerable to injury/disruption than the other. Both of which increase the risk of transmission.

      • @Vanita:

        I am with Kel, the anus was not made for intercourse the same way as the vagina is.

        The vagina is made so a baby can go through and not leave it all damaged beyond repair..compare that to what size will lead to bleedings in your anus and you have an idea how much higher the risk is because of this.

  3. Yeah, we know this but no one wanted to say it because they could be accused of homophobia. Now more and and more women are being pressured into anal sex. Not a good move.

  4. Ofcourse there is a higher risk for passage of HIV via anal vs. vaginal intercourse.

    We cannot forget the primary functions of each orifice.
    The anus is meant for EXPULSION and that only. Pushing anything into that opening will likely cause more rupture and tear in the sensitive muscle and nerve area because it does not have the proper lining or mucosal membranes for such (and often times rough) activities.

    The vagina is meant for both INSERTION and EXPULSION. It’s built specifically for the task of procreation (the main objective of our species, fun and pleasure aside) which includes both the inserting of a penis and the pushing-out of progeny.

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