Homosexuality causes AIDS

Knowledge : HIV spreads among gays, the main reason is low condom use

According to a new study, the risk of HIV among homosexual men remains uncontrollable in many regions. Among men who have sex with men, the epidemic continues to spread in most countries - regardless of prosperity, write US researchers before the start of the World AIDS Congress on July 22nd in Washington in the journal "Lancet".

The main reason is the sexual practice of anal intercourse. Researchers working with Chris Beyrer from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore (Maryland, USA) report that without a condom the risk of HIV transmission is around 18 times greater than with unprotected contact between the penis and vagina. Other reasons for the high HIV risk in gays are frequent partner changes and the changing roles in sexual intercourse. The danger is particularly great in the receiving position.

In some countries, the HIV frequency (prevalence) in homosexual men is already over 15 percent, write the researchers. The highest prevalence is found in the Caribbean (25 percent), Africa (18 percent) and North America (15 percent). In the USA alone, the number of infections among homosexual men has risen by an estimated eight percent annually since 2001. In many Western European countries, the prevalence of the study is lower - around 6 percent.

In Germany, too, according to the latest report by the Robert Koch Institute (RKI) on Monday, the HIV epidemic is still most strongly influenced by the development in the group of homosexual men. Of the 2,889 first diagnoses in 2011, 1,574 were committed gays. The numbers go back to 2008 after an increase, most recently by seven percent. However, the RKI researchers do not yet want to speak of a trend reversal.

When it comes to HIV, homosexual men in Germany are most at risk due to their sexual practices and the high number of their sexual contacts, says RKI expert Osamah Hamouda. “This is where the highest risk of meeting a partner with HIV exists.” Within Europe, the infection rates in Germany are nevertheless at a very low level. “That speaks for good success in prevention.” Deutsche Aids-Hilfe also sees it that way. "The groups particularly affected by HIV are included in the prevention," says spokesman Holger Wicht. "Gay men need information that exactly fits their lifestyle." In Germany, their protective behavior is high: According to surveys, 70 percent always protect themselves with condoms, 20 percent almost always.

According to the “Lancet” study, HIV can be transmitted quickly through gay networks. The transmission of the virus would also have a molecular biological cause. More dangerous forms of the virus occur among homosexual men than in other groups. dpa

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