Mixed results from the Adelaide Gay Periodic survey
Researchers with the Centre for Social Research in Health (CSRH), UNSW, report mixed results from the 2014 Adelaide Gay Community Periodic Survey, with a higher number of people living with HIV now on treatment, but an apparent decline in testing rates.
The survey found that while gay and bisexual men in South Australia continue to report relatively high levels of HIV testing, there appears to have been a decline since the survey was last conducted in 2012.
'It would be good to see all gay and bisexual men in Adelaide testing at least once a year, and more often if they have sex without condoms or a lot of partners', commented lead investigator, Associate Professor Martin Holt.
Wills Logue from Gay Men's Health SA added, 'Clearly, we need to find ways to reinforce the idea that STI and HIV testing should be regular and a matter of routine, as is recommended in the guidelines'.
About the survey
The Gay Community Periodic Surveys are conducted by the Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW, in collaboration with The Kirby Institute, local HIV community-based organisations and state health departments.
The results are used to guide HIV and sexual health programs for gay and bisexual men.
Gay Men's Health SA coordinated local recruitment for the 2014 Adelaide Gay Community Periodic Survey with support from Positive Life SA.
Men in Adelaide continue to report quite high levels of casual anal sex without condoms (one in six of all men in the survey).
Dr Holt commented "At face value, this level of sex without condoms is concerning. Many will try to reduce risk by using strategies such as serosorting (matching HIV status), but not all men do this'.
Dr Holt added that it is important for men who take unplanned risks to be aware of post-exposure prophylaxis (PEP - taking antiretroviral drugs after a risk event to prevent HIV). Gay Men's Health SA has published information about how to access PEP at www.pep72.com.
Rob O'Brien, Executive Officer of Positive Life SA, welcomed the findings that 95% of HIV-positive men in the 2014 survey were on treatment.
'This is very encouraging news. The individual health and wellbeing benefits of treatments are well recognised, while an undetectable viral load reduces the likelihood of onward transmission', he said.
The survey found a dramatic increase in the use of mobile applications like Grindr to meet sexual partners (from 24% in 2011 to 40% in 2014).
Wills Logue commented that this presents a challenge for health promotion. 'We increasingly need to engage gay and bisexual men online, through social media, and on their smartphones, he said.
Over 900 gay and bisexual men took part in the 2014 survey, recruited from gay venues and events in Adelaide and through online networks.
Source: Mobile apps now the most common way to meet partners CSRH Media Release
Download the report (PDF - 1 MB)
This page was published on 27 April, 2015
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