Survey Results: Gay Men Less Likely To Have Safe Sex Now


How has your attitude changed toward safe sex?  Wait, what is sex?  It's been so long, maybe we need to start there … ok, we watched a video, cleaned up, and remember what sex is now.

Looking back at the past 10 years, has your practice and opinion of safe sex changed? Are condoms still in the mix? Do you have "the talk" with your sex partner?

MONDAY, Feb. 13, 2017 — In a sign that powerful new ways to treat and prevent HIV are relaxing attitudes about safer sex, a new survey finds that gay and bisexual men are much less likely to use condoms than they were two decades ago.

Men questioned at a Atlanta gay pride event in 2015 — including HIV-positive men — were more likely to say they'd recently had anal sex without a condom compared to men who were questioned at the same event in 1997, 2005, and 2006.

Although there are signs that the rates of other sexually transmitted infections have increased and the possibility of a drug-resistant strain of the once-deadly virus looms, HIV experts said the condom-less trend may not be as troubling as it appears.

"There has been an increase in the understanding that condom-less anal sex is not risky" if men take a drug to prevent HIV infection or take medication if they are already infected, explained Jeffrey Parsons, who was not involved with the study. He's a professor of psychology at Hunter College in New York City who studies HIV and health behaviors.

"Eventually, this is likely to result in decreased rates of HIV but also potentially higher rates of other sexually transmitted infections, which are much more easily treated than HIV," he said.


What do these results mean?  I'm interpreting it as a survey notifying us what other people are doing.  But does this mean we need to follow suit?  As always, we need to look at who, what, when, where and how of a survey. 

David Pantalone is an associate professor of psychology at the University of Massachusetts, Boston, who was not part of the study but reviewed the findings. He cautioned that the survey didn't follow the same group of men over the years. Instead, the researchers talked to a new group each time.

Pantalone also noted that the surveys don't represent gay and bisexual men as a whole. By giving a survey to men at a gay pride event, "you're going to have a good chunk of your sample who are letting loose and having fun, drinking, having sex. Your sample is going to be skewed towards higher risk," he said.


For more information on the survey, participants, and differences from year to year, head over to

A recent Ending HIV video called "Condoms, PrEP or Undetectable (UVL). How do you do it?" puts a little fun twist on the conversation. 



So, Instincters, have you changed your ways since the creation of PrEP and since the use of 'undetectable'?

And what about sex while on PrEP or sex while undetectable.  Is it unsafe or is it just a different kind of safe than the traditional safe sex with condoms?

2 thoughts on “Survey Results: Gay Men Less Likely To Have Safe Sex Now”

  1. Your headline/premise is

    Your headline/premise is misleading. No penetrative sex is 100% "safe".  Condom and/or PrEP use provide "safer" methods with respect to preventing HIV infection. Condom use helps prevent spread of other, but not all, STI's.  Increased use of PrEP as a "safer" sex practice does not equal a decline in safe sex practices; however, it may be contributing to a decrease in condom use.


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