Monday, July 26, 2010

Heterosexual Anal Sex: Implications for HIV Prevention

Via AmfAR, by Jeffery Laurence and Rowena Johnston
A recent analysis of several HIV transmission studies found that the risk of contracting HIV through unprotected anal intercourse is eighteen times greater than for penile-vaginal intercourse. HIV prevention messages about anal intercourse tend to focus on men who have sex with men (MSM), whose behavior in relation to anal sex has been more closely studied than that of heterosexuals. New work by amfAR fellow Dr. Marjan Javanbakht adds some significant detail to the scientific understanding of anal HIV transmission among heterosexuals, revealing that the prevalence of anal intercourse varies widely by race and ethnicity in the U.S.

Among women, African American women report the lowest rates of anal intercourse (7.9 percent) and white women report the highest (13.8 percent); while among men, rates range from 6.1 percent of Asian men to 13.5 percent of Latinos. Heterosexual anal intercourse also occurs in association with other factors that place those who practice it at particularly high risk for transmitting and acquiring HIV.

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