Survey suggests HIV testing be prioritised in Tasmania
Tasmanian gay men participated in the national Gay Community Periodic Surveys (GCPS) for the first time in 2014.
The survey, of 210 Tasmanian men who have sex with men, found lower levels of testing than on the mainland and a higher proportion of men having condomless sex.
- 23% of participants had never tested for HIV.
- 53% of those with casual male partners reported having condomless sex with any of these partners in the past six months
- Tasmanian men were more likely to report being in a monogamous relationship than in other jurisdictions
- 46% of the men reported using recreational drugs. This is a somewhat lower proportion than elsewhere.
Although the number of Tasmanians diagnosed each year has increased since 2008, HIV prevalence among gay men in the state appears to be lower, or similar to that for most other jurisdictions.
The GCPS are conducted by the Centre for Social Research in Health, UNSW Australia, in collaboration with The Kirby Institute, community organisations and state health departments.
The results are used to guide HIV and sexual health programs for gay and bisexual men.
TasCAHRD led local recruitment for the 2014 Tasmania Gay Community Periodic Survey.
Associate Professor Martin Holt, who leads the GCPS, commented, 'Gay men in Tasmania could have a much better engagement with HIV testing and sexual health services.
'However, the focus on monogamous relationships and the lower HIV prevalence do not suggest that Tasmanian men are taking more risks than their mainland counterparts.'
Sabine Wagner, CEO of Tasmanian Council on AIDS, Hepatitis and Related Diseases (TasCAHRD) said, 'The results of this research project clearly indicate that we need to talk more about safer sex, the prevention of blood borne viruses and sexually transmissible infections and testing options.
'More needs to be done to encourage Tasmanian men to stay safe and to get tested.'
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Gay men in Tasmania - Time to test a priority - CSRH news item
This page was published on 09 June, 2015
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