Safer sex among gay men: what is the ultimate goal?

AIDS. 1993 Feb;7(2):281-2.


PIP: Sex between homosexual partners in anything other than a mutually monogamous relationship between 2 HIV-negative people involves some risk of virus transmission; a condom must be used during anal intercourse to be considered safe. People, however, have the right to take risks and harm reduction is a long-term, stepwise process. Gay men receive multiple messages which either advocate risk-taking or preach that their sexual needs are bad. Instead of blaming people who occasionally engage in unprotected anal intercourse, people should be trained in skills to reduce their risk; safe sex should be eroticized; and attention should be given to interpersonal or social conditions which may lead to unsafe sex. Society must be challenged to support the messages of risk reduction and the sexual needs of all members of society. The authors further call for the recognition of various risk reduction strategies such as negotiated safety taken by gay men despite the potential problem of this strategy which relies upon the ability of sex partners to reveal their serostatus. The authors also stress that while the goal of eliminating unsafe sex and new HIV infections must be upheld, it is untenable. The understanding that this goal will never be realized, however, does not mean that efforts should not continue to educate and convince people to take better care of themselves. While no infringing upon individual rights, researchers should help prevent all future HIV infections.

Publication types

  • Editorial

MeSH terms

  • HIV Infections / prevention & control*
  • HIV Infections / psychology
  • HIV Infections / transmission
  • Homosexuality*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Risk-Taking
  • Sexual Behavior*