Age differences and sexual risk behaviour among Australian gay and bisexual men
Age differences and sexual risk
behaviour among Australian gay and
Benjamin R Bavinton
The Kirby Institute, UNSW Australia
13th Social Research Conference on HIV, Viral Hepatitis and Related Diseases
Symposium: Are young gay men really so different?
20 February 2014
• Pleasure and Sexual Health (PASH):
– Online cross-sectional survey conducted in 2009
– Data reported here are from 1,476 HIV-negative men
• The vast majority of gay men have sex with people around their
• Respondents’ own age was not associated with having UAI.
• Younger age was marginally associated with taking the
receptive position in anal sex.
• Generally, relative age difference was not associated with
engaging in UAI.
• Younger men having sex with much older men was associated
with sexual sensation seeking, and identifying as a “boy”.
• In younger men having UAIC: decisions about condom use were
mostly made by the respondent and were not related to age
• Previous research:
– Internationally: having sex with (much) older men has been
associated with increased HIV risk.
– Australia: having a much older partner may be associated with
increased HIV risk; though age difference is not related to UAI.
• Age difference related to sexual position.
• No support for assumptions about age-related power dynamics
and risk behaviour.
• The role of “daddy/boy” subcultures.
Health Promotion Implications
• Although most men have sex with men of the same age, HIV
prevention programs should not assume this to always be the
• Social stigma attached to young men having sex with (much) older
men may need to be challenged to enable HIV prevention.
• The assumption younger men lack power during sex with older
men may need to be questioned.
• Younger men who explicitly desire sex with (much) older men
should be aware of the higher background prevalence of HIV
among older gay men.
• Health promotion may need to specifically target gay men engaged
in age-differentiated sex and to address the values and beliefs
associated with such behaviour.
• PASH Study Participants
Garrett Prestage, Michael Hurley, Jeff Jin, Stephen Scott
• Other members of the PASH Study Team:
Ian Down, Jack Bradley, Pól McCann, Graham Brown
Departments of Health of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and
Citation: Prestage G, Jin F, Bavinton B, et al. Sex Transm Infect 2013;89:653–658.