Objective: To estimate the prevalence of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) infection and risk behaviors among young homosexual and bisexual men sampled from public venues in San Francisco and Berkeley, Calif.
Design: A survey of 425 young homosexual and bisexual men sampled from 26 locations during 1992 and 1993. Participants were interviewed and blood specimens were drawn and tested for HIV, level of CD4+ T lymphocytes, and markers of hepatitis B and syphilis.
Setting: Public venues in San Francisco and Berkeley, including street corners and sidewalks, dance clubs, bars, and parks.
Population studied: Homosexual and bisexual men aged 17 to 22 years.
Main outcome measures: Prevalence of HIV infection and risk behaviors.
Results: The HIV seroprevalence was 9.4% (95% confidence interval, 6.8% to 12.6%). The prevalence of markers for hepatitis B was 19.8% (95% confidence interval, 16.1% to 23.9%), and that for syphilis was 1.0% (95% confidence interval, 0.3% to 2.4%). The HIV seroprevalence was significantly higher among African Americans (21.2%) than among other racial/ethnic groups (P = .002). Approximately one third (32.7%) of the participants reported unprotected anal intercourse, and 11.8% reported injecting drug use in the previous 6 months. At the time of interview, 70.0% of the HIV-infected men did not know that they were HIV seropositive, and only 22.5% were receiving medical care for HIV infection.
Conclusions: The prevalence of HIV infection is high among this young population of homosexual and bisexual men, particularly among young African-American men. The high rates of HIV-related risk behaviors suggest a considerable risk for HIV transmission in this population. Prevention programs and health services need to be tailored to address the needs of a new generation of homosexual and bisexual men.