Age differences and sexual risk behaviour among Australian gay and bisexual men


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Ben Bavinton discusses the findings of the PASH study with regard to the sexual behaviour of young gay men.

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Age differences and sexual risk behaviour among Australian gay and bisexual men

  1. 1. Age differences and sexual risk behaviour among Australian gay and bisexual men 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
  2. 2. Title Sub-title • Pleasure and Sexual Health (PASH): – Online cross-sectional survey conducted in 2009 – Data reported here are from 1,476 HIV-negative men
  3. 3. Results • The vast majority of gay men have sex with people around their own age. • 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 difference.
  4. 4. Discussion • 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.
  5. 5. 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 case. • 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.
  6. 6. Acknowledgements • PASH Study Participants • Co-authors: Garrett Prestage, Michael Hurley, Jeff Jin, Stephen Scott • Other members of the PASH Study Team: Ian Down, Jack Bradley, Pól McCann, Graham Brown • Funders: Departments of Health of NSW, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia Citation: Prestage G, Jin F, Bavinton B, et al. Sex Transm Infect 2013;89:653–658.