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One in 10 Urban Gays Have HIV, Study Finds




 

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - More than one in 10 young gay men -- especially blacks -- in major U.S. cities are infected with the AIDS virus, and are showing "alarming" behavior, U.S. government researchers said on Monday.

Tests and interviews of more than 2,400 young men in Baltimore, Dallas, New York, Los Angeles, Miami and Seattle show an average of 12 percent are HIV-positive, Dr. Linda Valleroy and colleagues at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported.

"Of the 293 HIV-positive men, only 85 (29 percent) knew they were infected before this testing," Valleroy said in a report presented to the 8th Conference on Retroviruses in Chicago. "The prevalence of unprotected anal sex was alarming, given that these young men grew up and live in an era of HIV/AIDS awareness."

They said 46 percent of those surveyed reported unprotected anal intercourse during the previous six months. Anal sex is considered the most likely way to transmit or catch HIV, although oral sex and vaginal sex can also spread the virus, as can sharing hypodermic needles.

Valleroy's team, working with medical centers in the six cities, interviewed and tested 23- to 29-year-olds for the study.

"By city, prevalence ranged from 4.7 percent in Seattle to 18 percent in Dallas," the CDC said in a statement.

Researchers released similar findings at the same meeting in 2000. They said it is clear the message is not getting through to those at most risk of HIV. Some experts say young men do not realize that HIV drug cocktails will not cure the infection and they are acting carelessly out of the mistaken belief that a cure is possible.



 


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Information in this article was accurate in February 5, 2001. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.