Over the past decade, the number of recent sexual partners gay men reported to a series of sex polls dropped while their rate of condom use remained unchanged, aidsmap reports. The National Surveys of Family Growth (NSFGs) surveys 15- to 44-year-olds via telephone; this study compared a 2002 poll of 197 men reporting sex with another man in the previous year with polls of 272 similar men taken between 2006 and 2010. Investigators published their findings in the Journal of Acquired Infectious Diseases.

Between the two polls, the mean number of reported male sexual partners dropped significantly from 2.9 to 2.3, and fell from 2.9 to 2.1 for men younger than 24. The drop reached statistical significance, meaning the finding was not the result of chance, among men whose incomes were below 150 percent of federal poverty level, who reported a respective 3.0 and 2.1 partners, as well as among men in suburban metropolitan areas (3.2 to 2.1). Those living in urban areas reported 2.6 male partners in both surveys.

Condom use remained unchanged, with 57 percent of the men in the first survey reporting they had not used a condom for the last time they had sex, and 58 percent in the second.  

The proportion reporting an HIV test in the past year also remained unchanged, at a respective 41 percent between both surveys.  Thirty-eight percent of the men reported receiving a sexually transmitted infection screening in the past year in the 2002 survey, compared with 39 percent in the 2006 to 2010 survey. However, the rate of those who reported never having had an HIV test dropped from 25 to 15 percent.

To read the aidsmap story, click here.

To read the study abstract, click here.