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OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the extent to which 'high-risk' sexual behaviour is influenced by awareness of partners' HIV status among gay men. DESIGN: Structured interviews and collection of saliva samples for anonymous linked testing for HIV-1 antibodies. SETTING: Genitourinary medicine clinics and the gay community. SUBJECTS: Men (n = 677) who reported sexual contact with another man in the last 5 years. RESULTS: The majority of respondents (63%) had had an HIV-antibody test. Analysis of data showed that in 15% of the respondents' 1380 partnerships, HIV status was known by both parties. However, the majority of partnerships involved only safe sex. Only 26% of the partnerships in which unprotected penetrative anal sex had occurred involved mutual knowledge of HIV status and was most likely to occur with regular rather than non-regular/causal partners. Logistic regression revealed that this latter association could not be explained in terms of mutual HIV status knowledge. CONCLUSIONS: Despite widespread HIV testing, the majority of gay men engaging in high-risk sex are unaware of their partner's HIV status.


Journal article



Publication Date





837 - 841


Behavior, Data Collection, Developed Countries, Diseases, England, Europe, Hiv Infections, Homosexuals--men, Interviews, Knowledge, Northern Europe, Research Methodology, Research Report, Sex Behavior, United Kingdom, Viral Diseases, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Contraceptive Devices, Male, HIV Seropositivity, Health Knowledge, Attitudes, Practice, Homosexuality, Humans, Male, Middle Aged, Odds Ratio, Sexual Partners, Social Class