Young men among groups most at risk from HIV infection

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A new report has identified the groups of gay men that are at highest risk of HIV transmission in the UK and are targets for HIV prevention work.

The Multiple Chances report has found that the groups most at risk are Black African and Black Caribbean men – 15.4% tested positive for HIV.

Of men with over 30 sexual partners per year, 19.7% tested positive for HIV and among men with low levels of formal education, 9.5% tested positive for HIV.

Those also at risk are men who use recreational drugs, and men under 30 years old.

The report showed that 75.5% of men who tested positive for HIV have also used poppers within the last year.

74.8% of those age 20 and under have never been tested for HIV.

The findings from the report, completed by Sigma Research and commissioned by Terrence Higgins Trust, are “vital” to HIV prevention because now more focus can be given to those who are at most risk from transmission within the gay community.

Peter Weatherburn, Director of Sigma Research said: “Multiple Chances confirms what we have known for some time – that HIV does not affect all groups of gay men and bisexual men equally. The challenge now is to re-configure our HIV prevention efforts so those men in most need get the most benefit from them.”

The report calls for HIV treatment and prevention services to ‘over-serve’ the target groups found in the report to reduce the number of new HIV infections in the UK.

Will Nutland, Strategic Lead of Health Promotion at Terrence Higgins Trust said:

“For many years health planners have known that HIV impacts disproportionately on different communities in the UK.

“”Not only are gay men the group with the highest prevalence and incidence of HIV but certain groups among them are especially vulnerable to HIV.

“Identifying and over-serving these groups will have greater impact on HIV incidence in the UK.”

The Multiple Chances report was based on the findings from the Gay Men’s Sex Survey 2006 using a sample of 12,155 men who lived in the UK and had a non-heterosexual identity.

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