4277.0: Tuesday, November 14, 2000 - 4:44 PM

Abstract #2811

Sexual decision making among men who have sex with men in the greater San Francisco Bay area

Matthew E. Staley1, Kathleen M. Roe, DrPH1, and Alice A. Gandelman, MPH2. (1) Department of Health Sciences, San Jose State University, 440 Haddon Road, Apt 4, Oakland, CA 94606, 510-839-7105, staleyma@aol.com, (2) STD/HIV Prevention Training Center, 1947 Center Street, Suite 201, Berkeley, CA 94704

The recent and salacious reporting of "barebacking," (engaging in anal sex without using condoms), between men who have sex with men (MSM) prompted a research project designed to investigate the motivations for, and perceptions of, this particular form of sexual expression among self-identified bay and bi-sexual men in the greater San Francisco Bay area. The sensationalized published reports mask deeper issues of gay male identity, culture, community and latent and overt societal homophobia. This qualitative study is based on in-depth, personal interviews with 13 sexually active gay and bi-sexual men between the ages of 26 and 48, recruited from the greater San Francisco Bay area, who have made a conscious and reasoned decision to eschew current safe-sex recommendations. Common themes were coded and analyzed for content specificity. Themes which were identified and discussed include: physical and psychological sensation differences; relationship stability and intimacy; desire; nostalgia; erotic risk; partner availability; intentional infection and re-infection with HIV; treatment regimens; mistrust of the public health and medical establishments; current prevention messages; the impact of a divided community; and free choice. The results indicate disparities between current safe-sex educational programs directed towards gay men and the lived realities of gay men who have coped with the threat of HIV/AIDS. Suggestions for public health application and community capacity building to reduce the sense of disenfranchisement and disparate representation are discussed.

Learning Objectives: Participants will have the opportunity to hear the perspectives and experiences of men who have sex with men relating to an informed decision to forgo the utilization of condoms for receptive anal intercourse as influenced by overt and latent societal homophobia. This experience will provide guidance for working with MSM communities nationwide to assist with community capacity building and the development of new HIV prevention messages which honor the experiences and perceptions of the MSM community. At the conclusion of the session, the participant in this session will be able to: 1. Identify five thematic concerns raised by participants in this research project. 2. Analyze how these concerns have contributed to a rejection of current recommended HIV preventive measures. 3. Apply the knowledge gained to their work with MSM populations nationwide

Keywords: Condom Use, Gay Men

Presenting author's disclosure statement:
Organization/institution whose products or services will be discussed: None
I do not have any significant financial interest/arrangement or affiliation with any organization/institution whose products or services are being discussed in this session.

The 128th Annual Meeting of APHA