One study in Seattle showed that approximately 40 % of men who are HIV negative make sure to only have sex with others who share their serostatus in order to attempt to prevent contracting the virus. A similar German study found that 10 percent of HIV positive gay men believe they are noninfectious if they have a viral load that is undetectable. Both studies’s results were presented at the Conference on Retroviruses and Opportunistic Infections (CROI) in Boston.
In Seattle, two different questionnaires that included 1902 gay men accessing an HIV/ STI clinic between February and August of 2013, were conducted by researchers. The first one asked questions about their recent sexual behavior. For example, the HIV status of their partners, what role they played during sex, whether they use condoms, and other topics were brought up. The second questionnaire asked about what they did to reduce their risk of HIV.
Both questionnaires were completed by a total of 964 people, including 835 (87%) who were HIV negative and 129 (13%) who were HIV positive. Forty-two percent of HIV negative men were strict serosorters; they reported to only have sex with other HIV negative men (with or without a condom). Thirty-nine percent of these men said this was a deliberate strategy. A total of 6.5% practiced condom serosorting, which means they only reported having sex without a condom with other HIV negative men. 5.2% said this was deliberate. Lastly, 7.1 % were seropositioning, which means they only had condomless sex if they were the top, no matter their partner’s HIV status; 6.5% said this was a strategy.
Thirty-two percent of HIV positive men were strict serosorters, 25% of them doing this deliberately. Eleven percent engaged in condom serosorting and 10% in seropositioning.
In the German study presented at CROI, researchers asked 269 gay men who were HIV positive about whether they thought they could infect somebody if they had a viral load that was undetectable. Ten percent of this group thought they were noninfectious, with a fully suppressed virus and they held this belief when making choices about sex. Of these viral sorters, 57.5 % reported condomless sex, compared with 36% of men who were not viral sorters. Nineteen percent of the viral sorters said that recently they told someone about their status, while 22 % had not discussed HIV recently at all. On these two counts, the respective figures for the rest of the men were 42% and 44%.