Objectives: To compare the prevalence and predictors of HIV sexual risk behavior among young gay and bisexual men who perceived themselves to be HIV-negative, HIV-positive, or who were untested.
Design: Population-based sample of young gay and bisexual men.
Methods: Using multi-stage probability sampling, 408 gay and bisexual men aged 18-29 years in San Francisco were recruited and interviewed, and blood samples for HIV-testing from 364 participants were obtained.
Results: HIV prevalence was 18.7%, although 25% of the men who were HIV-positive did not know it. Thirty-seven per cent reported engaging in unprotected anal intercourse during the past year, including 59% of the men who knew they were HIV-positive, 35% of the men who perceived themselves HIV-negative and 28% of the untested men. Logistic regressions found similar predictors of unprotected intercourse for HIV-negatives and HIV-positives, including sexual impulsivity, substance use, sexual enjoyment and communication problems.
Conclusions: The high rates of unprotected intercourse, particularly among the HIV-positive men, attest to the urgent need for HIV-prevention interventions for young gay and bisexual men. The findings suggest that many of the important variables to target in interventions are similar for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative men.