Monday, May 13, 2013

STUDY: Gay Men Having Fewer Sex Partners

There is a new report out indicating that men who have sex with men, i.e. MSM (which is a larger set of people than self-identified gay men), are reducing the number of partners. In "Temporal Trends in Sexual Behavior among Men Who Have Sex with Men in the United States, 2002 to 2006-10," researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention analyze results of two telephone surveys of Americans (ages 15-44) reporting their sexual behavior from 2002-2006 and 2006-2010.

A nice summary of the results presented in the article is:
Between the two polls, the mean number of reported male sexual partners dropped significantly from 2.9 to 2.3, and fell from 2.9 to 2.1 for men younger than 24. The drop reached statistical significance, meaning the finding was not the result of chance, among men whose incomes were below 150 percent of federal poverty level, who reported a respective 3.0 and 2.1 partners, as well as among men in suburban metropolitan areas (3.2 to 2.1). Those living in urban areas reported 2.6 male partners in both surveys.

Condom use remained unchanged, with 57 percent of the men in the first survey reporting they had not used a condom for the last time they had sex, and 58 percent in the second.  

The proportion reporting an HIV test in the past year also remained unchanged, at a respective 41 percent between both surveys.  Thirty-eight percent of the men reported receiving a sexually transmitted infection screening in the past year in the 2002 survey, compared with 39 percent in the 2006 to 2010 survey. However, the rate of those who reported never having had an HIV test dropped from 25 to 15 percent.

The average number of approximately 2-3 sex partners per year seems sort of low to me, doesn't it? Apparently there were 197 MSM surveyed in the first survey and 272 in the second. That would mean the margin of error on the percentages are  quite large.

hat/tip to Queerty

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