English men who have sex with men (MSM) report a considerable array of sexual risk reduction strategies, aidsmap reports. Publishing their findings in the 2014 Gay Men’s Sex Survey, researchers compiled data from 15,360 MSM’s responses to a 2014 online survey.

Responding to a question about the methods they employ to reduce the potential for harm in their sex lives, people who had not been diagnosed with HIV reported: using lubricant for intercourse (77 percent), trying not to have sex with HIV-positive partners (63 percent), turning down sex partners on occasion (56 percent), using condoms for insertive anal sex (53 percent), abstaining from sex until a sexually transmitted infection (STI) is cured or managed (53 percent), knowing their HIV status (53 percent), using condoms for receptive intercourse (50 percent), getting tested for STIs regularly (41 percent), discussing HIV or STIs with potential sex partners (39 percent), using post-exposure prophylaxis, or PEP (34 percent) (in 2014, pre-exposure prophylaxis (PrEP) was available only in the United States; the English National Health Service still declines to cover it), dating potential sex partners for a while to become better acquainted before having sex (30 percent), avoiding poppers during receptive sex (21 percent), avoiding receptive sex entirely (19 percent) and avoiding insertive sex (12 percent).

These figures were similar for men diagnosed with HIV, with some exceptions. Seventy-two percent of the HIV-positive men said that knowing their viral load was a risk reduction strategy. Sixty-three percent of the HIV-negative men said they avoided HIV-positive partners, while 27 percent of the men with HIV said they avoided HIV-negative partners. Only about a third of the HIV-positive men reported condom use as a risk reduction method. The HIV-positive men more frequently said harm reduction tactics included regular STI testing, avoiding sex until STIs were treated or managed and talking about HIV and STIs with partners.

Seventy-four percent of the men said they knew that effective HIV treatment lowers the risk of transmission. Eighty-eight percent knew that testing HIV during the first few weeks of infection could result in a false negative result. Eighty-one percent said they were confident that HIV could not be transmitted through kissing or deep kissing.

To read the aidsmap article, click here.

To read the report, click here.