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Despite a decade of AIDS education and prevention programs, 50 per cent of young gay and bisexual men have high-risk unprotected sex, a Vancouver study suggests.
Called the Vanguard Project, the study found that in the past year, 150 of 300 participants reported at least one incident of unprotected anal sex, one of the highest-risk sexual practices for transmitting HIV, the virus believed to cause AIDS.
The percentage practising unsafe sex is double the rate found in a 1993 national study conducted by Montreal and Toronto researchers for the Canadian AIDS Society.
"Our findings indicate that a high percentage of young gay and bisexual men are still engaging in risky behaviours, despite a decade of prevention efforts," said Dr. Steffanie Strathdee, the project's program manager.
"While high-risk behaviours are less common than they were a decade ago, they haven't decreased enough to stem what could be an ongoing epidemic among young gay and bisexual men."
Although most participants had unprotected sex within a relationship, 25 per cent reported having it with a casual sexual partner.
Common reasons cited for having unprotected sex were: being in a monogamous or long-term relationship, having an HIV-negative partner, being intoxicated, or not having a condom.
For more information, contact:
Vanguard Project Coordinator
608 - 1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC, Canada, V6Z 1Y6