‘Barebacking’ Common Among Gay and Bisexual Men, CDC Study Finds
" Barebacking" -- intentionally having unprotected anal sex, usually outside of a monogamous relationship -- is "relatively common" among gay and bisexual men, according to a CDC study published in the March issue of the journal AIDS, Reuters Health reports. CDC researchers found through interviews that 70% of 554 gay or bisexual men were familiar with the term "barebacking," and of those, 14% reported engaging in the practice at least once in the previous two years. The most commonly cited reason for engaging in unprotected anal sex was "greater physical stimulation," followed by "feeling emotionally connected" with a partner. Researchers said they are concerned about the relatively high prevalence of the practice, especially because 22% of the men who had barebacked within the previous 24 months identified themselves as HIV-positive. "Intentional unprotected anal sex with non-primary partners is a health concern for gay communities because of the risk of transmitting HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases to uninfected men, including treatment-resistant strains," lead author Dr. Gordon Mansergh said, calling for new "holistic and wellness lifestyle approaches" targeted at gay and bisexual men who engage in the practice. Marty Algaze, a spokesperson for the Gay Men's Health Crisis, said, "Gay men, especially younger men, who may not have lost any friends to the disease, still need to be reminded that even though it may feel emotionally and physically better to have unprotected anal sex, there is no cure for AIDS" (Reuters Health, 4/1).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.