Sustaining safe sex: a longitudinal study of a sample of homosexual men

AIDS. 1993 Feb;7(2):257-63.


Objective: TO assess the maintenance of safe sexual practice. (We use the term 'safe' sex throughout the paper, since 'safe' is the term adopted by the Australian National Committee on AIDS).

Design: Maintenance was assessed by comparing sexual behaviour with both regular and casual partners reported in a 1986/1987 survey (time 1) with behaviour reported in a second survey in 1991 (time 2).

Method: The 145 homosexually active participants were a non-clinical sample recruited in 1986/1987 by advertisement and followed-up in 1991. A structured questionnaire was administered at both times. Items included questions about the nature of the men's sexual relationships and their sexual practices.

Results: Our findings indicate that the majority of men had sustained safe sex practices. HIV prevention strategies adopted included condom use, avoidance of anal intercourse and negotiated safety (i.e., the negotiated practice of unprotected anal intercourse within regular partnerships of concordant serostatus).

Conclusions: Negotiated safety is not the same as relapse.

PIP: This study assesses the extent to which safe sex practices are being maintained in a longitudinally followed cohort of 145 homosexually active men. The nonclinical sample was recruited in 1986/87 by advertisements and followed-up in 1991 with questionnaires on the nature of their sexual relationships and their sexual practices. Sex behavior with regular partners was compared with sex behavior with casual partners over the time period. The majority had sustained safe sex practices including condom use, avoidance of anal intercourse, and negotiated safety. This latter practice refers to the negotiated practice of unprotected anal intercourse with regular partners of concordant serostatus and should not be considered a relapse to unsafe sex.

MeSH terms

  • AIDS Serodiagnosis / psychology
  • Australia / epidemiology
  • Data Collection
  • HIV Infections / epidemiology
  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • Homosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior*
  • Sexual Partners