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CDC HIV/AIDS/Viral Hepatitis/STD/TB Prevention News Update
"Community Program Reduces HIV Risk Among Young Gay Men

June 11, 1993
Business Wire (06/09/93)

Berlin, Germany--A University of California, San Francisco, study indicates that HIV prevention and safe sex messages are optimally effective when tailored for the group at which they are aimed and delivered by peers. In the first eight months of a UCSF-directed outreach program in Oregon, the rates of unsafe sex by gay and bisexual men were reduced by more than 10 percent. "Many young gay men perceive AIDS to be a problem mainly of older gay men," said the UCSF Center for AIDS Prevention Studies' Katherine C. Haynes Sanstad. While the gay community has been very successful in reducing high risk behaviors since the AIDS epidemic began, researchers say young men engage in unsafe sex at frightening rates, while few of them attend AIDS prevention activities, said Sanstad. UCSF researchers found that young gay men in the Eugene community attempted to teach about safe sex to their peers at parties and bars. Project members later launched social events where they were able to distribute information about safe sex. Researchers evaluated the program four months after its start and then about a year later. Of those polled in the first survey, 41 reported engaging in unprotected anal intercourse, while only 30 percent reported doing so in the second survey. In a comparable study conducted among a similar population in Santa Barbara, the rate was stable throughout the eight months. The study authors say it could be used successfully for other high risk groups.

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